HEALTH care has become the key issue in the Waterford election campaign. But a split has emerged in the united front behind which the city and county have fought for better hospital facilities.
A community group that has campaigned tirelessly for round-the-clock cardiac care at University Hospital Waterford has come out publically to stress it remains non-political.
The South East Patient Advocacy Group (SEPAG) admits that its campaign has splintered. It claims to have been excluded from vital meetings and fears the issue is “being kicked around like a political football” by election candidates.
The Health care key issue admits that its campaign has splintered. It claims to have been excluded from vital meetings and fears the issue is “being kicked around like a political football” by election candidates.
being kicked around like a political football
In a statement SEPAG said it had been set up by a group of ordinary people concerned about loss of investment into services at UHW and the failure of the HSE to implement a 24/7 cardiac care service for the people of the South East region.
The statement said: “It was unanimously agreed by all founding members that the most important ethos of SEPAG was that we would be a non-political community-based people-led campaign – a voice for all. We were willing to work with anybody for the benefit of the campaign as long as they respected our people-led non-political stance.
“In spite of our best efforts to keep the group ethos intact the campaign was sadly splintered and led down a political route. SEPAG was then systematically excluded from vital meetings.
“We recently discovered the decision regarding the implementation of an 8 – 8 cardiac service at UHW was agreed upon between a government TD and one individual campaigner, who claims to be campaigning for 24/7, in a secret meeting without any consultation or collaboration at all whatsoever with SEPAG.
election candidates promising people the sun, moon and stars for their vote
“We are once again being forced to watch the campaign being kicked around like a political football by election candidates promising people the sun, moon and stars for their vote knowing they cannot deliver what people want and need.”
Prominent hospital campaigner, Cllr. Matt Shanahan, has meanwhile launched his campaign to win a seat .
The Independent candidate said Waterford had got “next to nothing” from the from the last nine years of Government.
“This could be Waterford’s time,” he said. “But only if Waterford people consider carefully and choose wisely.”
Fine Gael has buried its head in the sand on the insurance issue
Sinn Féin TD and candidate, David Cullinane, has said this party will tackle the trolley crisis head on by ending the recruitment embargo, hiring more nurses and midwives, opening more beds .
And Fianna Fáil TD and candidate Mary Butler has expressed concern that nursing homes could be the latest sector affected by the insurance crisis.
”Fine Gael has buried its head in the sand on the insurance issue,” she said.