A delegation from the Save Our Services community hospital group who are opposing proposed HSE plans for community hospitals in Lifford, Ramelton and Stranorlar, say they received widespread support from various political parties they met in the Dail.
In a statement today the The Save Our Services executive say they sent a delegation of three members on November 8th to meet with the various Health & Older spokesperson of each party in the Dail recently with the intention to bring the campaign to a national level and to increase the pressure on the political parties to deliver on promises they had made prior to the last election.
The SOS campaign say they received “widespread support”. The delegation met the Fianna Fáil spokesperson on older people, had a separate meeting with the Fianna Fáil leader, the Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson, the Social Democrats Leader and the Minister of State for Older People Helen Mc Entee of Fine Gael.
“This was a very successful series of meetings and all Oireachtas members welcomed our position on how best to save the services. There was a frank assessment and exchange of opinions and the SOS asked for, not just continued support, but for pressure to be put on the HSE to become accountable to the people.”
Stalling on answers
The statement claims the HSE are stalling on answers and their plans are “purely to privatise health care”:
“Our recent meeting with the HSE in October only served to highlight the fact that their plan is purely to privatise health care and to farm out all the services to the highest bidder. We won’t stand for this and will fight this all the way. Their disregard for positively engaging with us is clear in that they really don’t want us at the table and continue to stall on answering any questions or concerns we have. Continuing to receive virtually nothing in terms of answers or clarity as to what they are doing is frankly absurd. Our supporters and the people wishing to access these services deserve better, not to mention the future provision of all services.”
Corridors of power
The statement continued: “We brought our case to the corridors of power in Dail Éireann and we intend to do it again to follow up on these discussions to save existing services. We met with all key Oireachtas members and impressed [on them] the lack of any information from the HSE and also to give them all a 17 page summary document of the challenges we face and which outlines our stance.
“We were pleasantly surprised at the increased support we received and that all those we met are fully behind our campaign. Our aim and summary document was to not just update but inform the politicians and get them to apply appropriate pressure where necessary. We have succeeded in doing this and have all parties working on this for us. They all accepted our submission that the HSE plans are not the most prudent use of public funds and the millions should be invested in existing services.
“We met with Fianna Fáil spokesperson on older people and then separately the leader of the party, Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson, Social Democrats Leader and the Minister of State for Older People Helen Mc Entee of Fine Gael. Our discussion focused on the current situation and how the HSE wants to replace existing services and how we believe that the HSE have got this decision wrong.”
“We put our case across professionally and we said this is just the tip of the iceberg as we plan to increase the campaign not just behind closed doors but to mobilise the people on the streets again in the near future,” the statement added.