Press Conference for National Health March

The Campaign for a Better Public Health Service, which includes the Dublin Council of Trade Unions (DCTU), various unions and health campaign & patient groups held a press conference on Tuesday 26th March.

Click here to watch the RTE news report

Click here for RTE Radio One report

For Irish Times Report…

Irish Times Report Thursday 27th March

Health Service Groups Urge public to attend protest

THE HEALTH service is being run by accountants and economists who know the price of everything but the value of nothing, the president of the Irish Nurses Organisations said yesterday. Madeline Spiers said the healthcare situation in Ireland reminded her of conditions when she began working as a nurse over 20 years ago, when patients were treated on trolleys and some had no drugs.

“I thought we would never see those days again, but I see them occurring now,” she said. “What we all want when we or our families are sick is to be able to go into a public health service to be treated and quickly processed into a bed by professionals who have time to be compassionate and care for you.”

Ms Spiers was speaking as doctors, nurses, trade unions and campaign groups called on the public to take to the streets of Dublin on Saturday to demonstrate their anger with the Health Service Executive (HSE).

The protest will assemble at the Garden of Remembrance on Parnell Square at 2.30pm for a rally, before marching across the city centre to Molesworth Street.

Des Derwin of Siptu said Ireland was a wealthy country that deserved a decent health service.

“The airwaves have been saturated for months by horror stories from desperate people calling in and we feel it is now time that the trade unions, patients’ groups, hospital groups and the general public got together to make the statement that enough is enough.”

Marie O’Connor of the Health Service Action Group said the protest was attempting to draw attention to the Government’s policy of bed cutting.

“We have one of the lowest population-to-bed ratios in any of the OECD and EU countries, at 3.1 beds per 1,000, versus 5.1 per 1,000 in 1980,” she said.

Janette Byrne of Patients Together said she was hopeful that up to 70,000 people might join them in protest.

“People who have never been affected by the health service, horrific or not, are saying they want to come out and support us.

A number of health service professionals are expected to speak at Saturday’s rally, including consultant oncologist Prof John Crown, consultant neurologist Dr Orla Hardiman and Peadar McMahon of the Monaghan Hospital Community Alliance.

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