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Fight For Free Public Healthcare - End Limerick's Dialysis Crisis

category limerick | miscellaneous | news report author Saturday June 16, 2007 18:22author by Limerick Socialist Party - Socialist Partyauthor email info at socialistparty dot netauthor address Limerick Report this post to the editors

5 more years of Harney's cuts?

The new government is set to continue the old policies; underfunding healthcare and creating a US-style, for-profit health system. This will only worsen the crisis and must be resisted. The current scandal here in Limerick of people having to travel long distances for dialysis underlines this.

For years now the government and HSE have been aware that the dialysis machine in Limerick Regional Hospital is over worked and that one or more new macines are desperately needed. They refused to act, putting costs before service. Now people are forced to travel to Tullamore, Kilkenny or Tralee a few times a week to recieve vital dialysis.

This cost cutting shows the true cause of the health crisis: a dire lack of facilities, staff and investment. Government propaganda has tried to label health as a ‘black-hole’ where money goes in but the service doesn’t improve. This is an attempt by them to get off the hook and put the blame on health workers. It is completely untrue.

The reality is recent spending has fallen far short of what is needed. Ireland has been playing catch-up with the rest of Europe since the 1980's when well over 3,000 beds were taken out of the system.

The government's own health strategy in 2001 said that 3,000 new beds were urgently needed in the health service. This was an underestimation and the real figure is probably nearer 5,000. However, 6 years later only 789 beds have actually been delivered.


A two-tier system Rather than building a free comprehensive health service the government have been more concerned with supporting the development of the private health sector at the expense of the public system. Now the government is giving public land to private hospitals, along with huge grants and tax breaks. This will only worsen the two tier health system where it is money ,not need, which dictates who gets treated.

All the establishment parties support this idea. Now even the Greens have sold-out those who voted for them looking for an alternative. The Greens seem to be going quietly along with Fianna Fail’s privatisation agenda. The only force that can make the government backdown is a united campaign of health workers and other working class people.

The ‘Opposition’ - we need a real alternative

The supposed ‘opposition’ of Fine Gael\Labour want even more market control of health and when last in government they too underfunded public health care and supported the development of the two-tier system. Similarly, none of the establishment parties supported the nurses in their recent struggle.

The Socialist Party has consistenly fought for a free public health service. Whilst all the establishment parties lined up to attack the nurses, we supported their campaign. We believe the trade unions have a crucial role to play in building a movement to oppose the dialysis crisis here in Limerick and the wider health crisis. Already thousands of people have taken to the streets of Letterkenny and in Monaghan protesting at a shortage of resources. This shows that a movement can be built, if a leadership is given.

The Socialist Party believes that the crises that afflict our society in the health services, education, housing and social infrastructure could all be eradicated if society was organised for the needs of people not the profit of big business and the rich.

The Socialist Party believes workers and young people, can’t rely on any of the establishment parties. None of them represent us. Ordinary people must get organised to fight the new government’s right-wing agenda. We actively campaign for a socialist alternative to the crises that afflict our society. Join us in that struggle!


the Socialist Party says: Build a campaign of patients, health staff & unions to fight for: - One or more extra dialysis machines in Limerick; dialysis services in day time hours for all who need them! - Emergency measures to provide extra beds and staff to end the A&E crisis and the waiting lists! - End the abuse of the public system by private medicine; scrap the two-tier health service! - For a fully comprehensive, public health service, including GPs & prescription medicine!

Related Link: http://www.SocialistParty.net

Socialist Party Display
Socialist Party Display

Another SP Display
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PDF Document PDF of the leaflet 0.16 Mb

author by Jim O'Sullivanpublication date Sun Jun 17, 2007 09:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The state of the Health Service is dire and it must rank as criminal that it has been brought to this condition as a result of deliberate actions and policy of the PD's and Fianna Fail. People are actually dying for need of access to help.(How do these politicians sleep at night?) But the sad truth is that the privatisation will now accellerate as a result of the recent election and the most disheartening thing of all is that this will be done in agreement with the Greens and a so called socialist, Finian McGrath.

The extent to which our country has lurched to the extreme right is demonstrated by a recent statement from the Brithish Tory Party agreeing that health services must be free at the point of delivery to ensure equality of access. While they still want to bring private companies into the system, to satisfy their so called "enterprise" ethos, they will do so on a contract basis with payment being made by the Department of Health. The patient will receive the treatment free and there will be no incentive, as applies here, for greedy consultants to form two queues. Bertie and Harney are beginning to make Atilla the Hun look like Mother Teresa.
Having said all that, given the election result, does anyone care any more? Has the "greed is good" bug now completely overwhelmed any sense of community or concern for our fellow citizens, particularly the vulnerable?

author by Despublication date Sun Jun 17, 2007 17:10author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The answer to your question Jim is sadly YES

author by Marco Polopublication date Mon Jun 18, 2007 09:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Having watched Bertie being interviewed by Miriam Callaghan over the weekend, it is certain that this empty vessel cares nothing for anyone other than himself. The screen could hardly contain the inflated ego. He has no concern at all for those suffering awaiting health care and like his PD friends, he has no problem with inequity, Obviously no member of his own family will have to suffer, they have their heads well and truely stuck in the trough. And can there be any doubt that Harney has something on him?
We are in a greed, celebrity dominated shithole.

author by So negative - Sppublication date Mon Jun 18, 2007 13:12author address author phone Report this post to the editors

reading the comments above you;d swear people were all very happy with health care as it stands and that there was support for the privatisation agenda. The reality is there isn't. We saw that on the stall using this leaflet: lots of support and anger. As the leaflet says, what is needed is a leadship and a campaign to mobilise that anger, linking health staff, patients and unions.

Related Link: http://www.SocialistParty.net
author by Cian P - SY & SPpublication date Thu Jun 21, 2007 22:33author email info at socialistparty dot netauthor address Limerickauthor phone Report this post to the editors

Limerick dialysis crisis

The disgraceful lack of planning and penny pinching in the Irish health service is causing chaos for dialysis patients in Limerick. After years of under funding, new patients are now being sent to Galway, Kilkenny, Tullamore and Tralee for treatment.

This means they must drive four hours at least three times a week just to stay alive. As well as this, other existing patients have to come into the hospital in the middle of the night a few times every week. This adds extra, unnecessary, stress and strain which undoubtedly impacts further on their health.

The immediate problem is the lack of sufficient dialysis machines to accommodate new patients, with current machines busy around the clock. There has been warning after warning that more machines are needed. For instance, one person we met was sent all the way to Dublin for dialysis over a year ago.

The government ignored these warnings, putting saving money before saving lives. Now the crisis has reached breaking point.

There is no reason why people should have to travel long distances for dialysis treatment. Similarly there is no justification for having patients drag themselves into the hospital in the middle of the night for treatment. All those in need of dialysis should be able to receive it locally and during daytime hours.

The Socialist Party has been out campaigning for this in Limerick. We believe that patients, health staff and unions must fight together to force the government to act. Extra dialysis machines and staff are needed immediately, patient care must be the priority, not cost cutting or privatisation.

Related Link: http://www.SocialistParty.net
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