Watch: Longford shows its support for Still Waiting Health Campaign

Protesters are sick of long waiting lists in the health sector

Jessica Thompson

Reporter:

Jessica Thompson

Email:

jessica.thompson@longfordleader.ie

A protest was held at 2pm today at St. Joseph's Care Centre to highlight the downfalls of the Irish healthcare system, and to demand improvements.

At protest was held at St. Joseph's Care Centre in Longford today to highlight the downfalls of the Irish healthcare system.

Protesters involved gathered at 2pm to show their support for the Still Waiting Health Campaign - a national campaign which aims to get different organisations under one umbrella in an attempt to improve the health system and protest the increasingly long waiting lists in the public health sector.

"We're building this towards a national protest - a national demonstration - where we hope to have thousands of people coming together to say we've had enough. We're sick of the waiting lists," said Hazel Robinson, one of the organisers of the protest.

"We're saying that you can't hold one person's health and life over another's, depending on whether or not they can afford to go into the private system.

"People are being scare-mongered into the private system and they simply don't have the money to pay for it," she said, adding that long waiting lists in the public system are no good to people who may suffer a whole year or more before getting the help they need - so people are at a loss.

"With Longford especially, we're up against the odds. We have no functioning, running hospital. We're dependent on the ambulance system, which may not arrive in time in an emergency. And the support systems that are supposed to be backing us up are weak," said Ms Robinson.

"There's a hospital bus on a schedule, but if you're the only person on it, heading to an appointment, it won't run, so you're stuck. And if you do get to your appointment, you'll be waiting around for the rest of the day to get the bus back home.

"My heart goes out strongest to the young, the disabled and the elderly - those who just don't have a voice. We want to be that voice."

Hazel's own daughter, Gypsy, who is 15, suffers from Cystic Fibrosis and Hazel says she refuses to just "shut up and put up" when it comes to her daughter's care.

"We're going to keep shouting until we're heard," she said.

For more information on the Still Waiting Health Campaign, find Still Waiting Ireland on Facebook.