Make Your Voice Heard

October 20, 2008

Last week the Government caused uproar by announcing plans to scrap the automatic entitlement to a medical card for all over-70’s. Having lulled the elderly into a false sense of security that they would be entitled to free healthcare until the end of their days, they are now trying to claw back on this commitment. There is no denying that this country is facing a serious economic downturn and that harsh cutbacks are required to sustain public finances but this callous plan to target the elderly, is despicable.

Enough has already been said about the bungled campaign to introduce a ‘means test’ for the over-70’s medical card. I have never felt so angry and frustrated by the gross incompetence shown by our Government in their handling of this issue. They are guilty of causing great fear and anguish to those most vulnerable in our society. The comments made over the weekend by our Minister for Health, Mary Harney and our Taoiseach, Brian Cowen have done nothing to allay the fears of the elderly. Now the Government is floundering around trying to find a way out of the controversy created. Our health service is no longer alone in it’s descent into chaos.

A public rally has been organised outside the Dáil at lunchtime on Wednesday to protest against this Government’s attempt to mug the elderly. If you too have been outraged by this medical card débâcle, I would urge you to show solidarity with the elderly and support this protest.

Assemble @ 1pm on Wednesday 22 October in Kildare Street, outside the Dáil.


Spread The Word

October 10, 2008

Tomorrow, Saturday, a health protest is due to take place in Dublin and I’m in need of your help.

The main objective of the MARCH & RALLY is to have a large gathering of trade unionists, patients, health campaigners and the general public to demand:

an end to privatisation of the Health Service

an end to cutbacks

a first-class, equitable Health Service

The protest has been organised by the Public Health Service Campaign (PHSC) group which is an alliance of the Dublin Council of Trade Unions, the Youth Committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and Patients Together. The campaign is supported by the Health trade unions and a wide range of patients, hospital and medical campaigners.

In the run up to the imminent budget, the campaign aims to put a stop to the underfunding of our Health Service. In recent years, we’ve seen chaos in our A&E Departments, a shortage of hospital beds, reduced services for the elderly, cutbacks in funding for disability services, the misdiagnosis of cancer patients, and an alarming rise in the rate of hospital acquired infections such as MRSA and C. difficile.

On October 11, we will demand not only that the cutbacks end, but that we get the first class health service we deserve. The PHSC is calling on all trade unions, patient and hospital campaigns, community organisations and the general public to get out on the streets on the day, to achieve the loudest possible protest,” said Patients Together spokesperson, Janette Byrne.

YOUR HEALTH – YOUR PROTEST.

Assemble 2.00 pm, Saturday, 11th October 2008.
Garden of Remembrance, Parnell Square, Dublin, 1.

Speakers at the rally will include:

Prof John Crown, Consultant Oncologist
Liam Doran, Irish Nurses Organisation General Secretary
Janette Byrne, Spokesperson for Patients Together,
Conor Seville, brother of Beverly.
Kevin Callinan, National Secretary, IMPACT
Audrey Deane, Social Policy Advisor, St. Vincent de Paul Society,
Peadar McMahon of the Health Services Action Group and the Monaghan Hospital Community Alliance,
Louise O’Reilly, National Nursing Official, SIPTU,
Dr. Teresa Graham, (SIN) Stop Infections Now Campaign, (MRSA),
Walter Cullen, Unite Trade Union

Live music will be provided by ASLAN members and other artists.

Please spread the word about this protest and if you can support the march & rally, all the better.

Now, this is where I need your help.  What wording do you think I should use on my placard?

UPDATE: No placard was needed as I joined-up with the S.I.N. (Stop Infections Now) campaigners who had produced their own teeshirts and placards for the march and rally. I am very proud to be a SINNER!

This peaceful protest was better organised than the last one in March but I suspect the numbers were down by comparison.  For me personally, the highlight of the day was to witness two consultant doctors represent the rights and interests of patients and advocate for a better health service. I admire them both hugely for publicly taking this stance and for not being afraid to speak out about the faults within the system. If only their colleagues would follow suit.