ONCE again, the people of Waterford and the South East have to take to the streets to beg for a service that we are so obviously entitled to. We did it in 2012, and it fell on deaf ears. This Saturday, September 24 at 2pm from The Glen, we are forced to do it again.
The March is being organised by the the South East Patient Advocacy Group, a community group of people who are encouraging the people of the South East to turn out and make their voices heard. The objective is to to highlight the failure to implement 24/7 cardiac care at University Hospital Waterford, which was promised in 2012 by the then Minister for Health, James Reilly TD.
The people of the South East are being forced to take to the streets because of Minister for Health, Simon Harris TD’s, decision to refuse to implement the 24/7 cardiac care at the hospital. The organisers are expecting thousands to travel from all corners of the South East to voice their opposition to the Minister’s refusal to implement the 24/7 cardiac care and a proposal to further downgrade cardiac services currently being carried out at University Hospital Waterford.
Hilary O’Neill, one of the founders of the South East Patient Advocacy Group said today: ‘The people of the South East were promised 24/7 cardiac care and no depletion of other services at University Hospital Waterford (UHW) after the compilation of the Higgins Report in 2012. This failed administration now has an unequivocal record of false promises to the 500,000 people of the south east region across a range of essential services at UHW. Any one of us, you or I or a loved one, could find ourselves relying on urgent cardiology services that will not be there to care for us, at a critical time in our lives.’
Yvonne Cooney, one of the organisers has said, ‘This is a matter of life and death. We want people in the region to stand up for the South East and to seek to have this deplorable decision overturned immediately. We are outraged at how we have been treated. This Government is refusing to invest in cardiology services for 500,000 people, which equates to 10% of the population, by refusing to implement a second cath lab at UHW. It is shameful how the Minister for Health took such an outrageous, arrogant approach and showed us the back of his hand in refusing to meet the medics at the Hospital.’
The politicians have all expressed their views, the consultants have also expressed their opinions and now it is time for the people of the South East to have their say. It is imperative that people come out on Saturday and show Minister Harris that we are completely united in this regard. The public is encouraged to use social media hashtags #apeoplesprotest #ourlivesmatter to voice their support of the protest.
“Then – in the name of democracy – let us use that power – let us all unite”
– The Great Speech, Charlie Chaplin.