Tuesday, June 25, 2019

‘Tell us your waiting list stories – we can only campaign from there’

LANGUISHING on waiting lists has become the norm in Waterford, for thousands of people. It is a shocking indictment of our health system, which has essentially muddled through a growing disaster over the course of years with a sticky plaster-application approach to finding a solution. The result, the waiting lists have increased to such an extent – by a staggering 121 percent over the past five years for Ear, Nose and Throat alone – that to find any kind of workable solution has been made all the more difficult.

David Cullinane, TD, believes that change will only come about if people speak out. Unfortunately, he is not far wrong. It seems that the numbers keep continuing in an upward spiral unless the spotlight is shone on individual cases.

Only this week WLRfm’s Damien Tiernan was being praised as being instrumental in getting a woman’s gall bladder operation prioritised. “Waited a year and a half in agonising pain, lost 6 stone, constantly sick,” Casey Dunne wrote on Facebook. “If it wasn’t for Damien Tiernan God knows how long more I’d be waiting.”

For every Casey Dunne, however, unfortunately there are hundreds and hundreds more – the spotlight on Casey’s case has not meant anything different for those others waiting alongside her.

Waterford people deserve better than having to knock down the doors of public media or political figures to receive the healthcare that should be their human right. Waterford children are among these numbers, they too are victims of a system that is blatantly not working.

Waiting lists are not unique to Waterford, and the only real solution is significantly more funding to our hospitals to give them even a fighting chance of turning the tide on such an unacceptable status quo. Talk of budget constraints ring hollow when compared to the money being poured into the black hole that is the National Children’s Hospital.

All the while people’s health is being further compromised, with increased risks that they will get sicker before they get through the door for their first consultant appointment.

If your health is your wealth, the health of our nation is reflected very poorly as long as the Government, Department of Health and HSE keep their heads in the sand on our unending waiting lists.

While Casey Dunne’s public appeal only solved her situation, it would be very difficult for the government and health system to ignore a chorus of Casey Dunnes – a chorus of real, tangible people, as opposed to statistics, Waterford adults and children who are waiting and waiting, with no one currently the wiser than themselves and their GP.

In 2015, Consultant in the Emergency Department, Brendan McCann, in relation to overcrowding in the ED, stated: “A patient who spent some time in the Emergency Department remarked that it was like a war-zone. He couldn’t understand why more people weren’t screaming about what was happening, and I agree with him. This issue makes the front pages of a newspaper every so often and then it’s forgotten about.”

Together we can demand better. Darren Skelton has been reporting on the hospital crises for six years. His mortuary story was instrumental in bringing about government action.

Tell us your waiting list stories – we can only campaign from there.

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