Aontú representative, Mary T. Sweeney
A new drive to force the Government to open up the health service has been launched in Donegal.
Aontú representative and recent general election candidate, Mary T. Sweeney from Letterkenny, says that her party is "concerned around this Government’s obsession with the most insignificant details of people’s lives while ignoring the lengthening and deepening crisis in the day to day health service".
“This is a scandal and one that will have real and lasting consequences for people in this county and country. The FF, FG and Green Government want to know what you had for dinner on August 8 but still don’t know when Breast Check or face to face mental health consultations will recommence.
"People are going out of their minds with worry about this and nobody is callingout the Government on this issue," she said.
Ms Sweeney claimed the Government is high on regulations at this point but low on "cop on".
"It's shocking to say but calamity coalition is doing more damage than Covid-19 to whole swathes of our society”.
She adds: “Right across the health services, key delivery is either closed or running at reduced capacity. Doctors and nurses are doing the best they can within the restrictions and budgets that are available but hundreds of thousands of people suffering from many different ailments are in critical unmet need.
"Aontú party leader, Peadar Toibin has asked the Government and the HSE a number of times to analyse the cost of these closures in terms of mortality and morbidity but no analysis has been taken.
"Any decision making on the application of resources
to aspects of the health service without this analysis is going to be faulty.
“Cancer screening services for bowel, cervical and breast cancer are down 75-80% in 2020 on 2019. Capacity to screen or treat for cancer is down at least 30%. Bowel and cervical cancer screening services have begun but nowhere
near what is needed to address the demand. Shockingly breast check screenings are scheduled to return some time in late September or October – with 100,000 women currently waiting.
"Existing services are not fully returned and even if they
do return are completely inadequate to the massive demand that now exists”.
Mental Health Services
Ms Sweeney also claimed that many people have experienced heightened levels of anxiety and stress as a
result of the pandemic.
"Shockingly, face to face counselling has failed to return in many areas. It is likely more people have died from suicide in Ireland in August than Covid-19. We have also seen a further reduction in the number of mental
health critical care beds across the country – leaving Ireland with the lowest number of mental health critical care beds in Europe.
"Mental Health and Intellectual Disability teams, Community Rehabilitation Teams and peer groups are scheduled to reopen in the coming weeks at a significantly reduced level. Home support services, home based treatment teams and emergency respite are dramatically reduced with no reduction in demand.
She said GP services – already in major difficulty – are now under serious pressure. GP referrals and access to diagnostics are still dramatically impacted while hospital capacity to meet regular demand for services has been radically reduced.
"There is negligible additional capacity provided or funded to meet increased demand as a result of lockdown. The hospital services scheduled to reopen in the coming weeks are a fraction of pre-Covid levels and yet are expected to meet drastically increased demand for services.
“It’s blindingly clear now that we cannot go on with whole sections of the health service suspended indefinitely. This petition that we have launched is the first
step of our campaign to get services open across Donegal immediately.
"We are calling for people throughout Donegal to have their say and sign the petition. We must protect against the threat of Covid-19, but we cannot be blind to the threats
posed by the non-Covid Healthcare Crisis. Open up the health service now," she said.
I, the undersigned demand that the Government open up our health service now.
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