Plans afoot for ‘bigger, better’ protest
LOCAL campaigners have vowed to do “whatever it takes” in order to deliver increased cardiac services at University Hospital Waterford (UHW).
The decision to postpone last Saturday’s planned protest was announced earlier last week after Health Minister Simon Harris cancelled his planned visit to Waterford – Minister Harris was due to visit UHW yesterday (Monday).
However, campaigners say another “bigger and better” protest will go ahead in Waterford within the next few weeks.
In an open letter to Minister Harris, the South-East Patient Advocacy Group stated: “It is an absolute shameful situation when the people of the South-East region are being forced to come out onto the streets again and again to beg for vital lifesaving services in an acute Status 4 regional hospital. If you continue to deny us this vital service we will have no option other than to continue doing whatever it takes to have the second cath lab implemented and funded at UHW. We pay the same taxes as everybody else and our lives matter just as much as yours and every other person in this country.”
Group members are calling on everyone within the South-East region to support the cause.
They say the postponement of the protest will give them more time to mobilise people in Kilkenny, Wexford and Tipperary.
“This dire situation affects the people in these counties just as much as it affects the people in Waterford and we need to bang home that this is not a local issue but a regional one,” a spokesperson said.
“For this reason we are now going to try and organise and liaise with a Patient Advocacy Group in each of these counties which can work alongside us regarding the hospital services so if anybody is living in or knows somebody in any of the surrounding counties who would be willing to assist us please let us know.”
At last week’s plenary meeting of Waterford City & County Council, Cllr Mary Roche (Ind) asked if a response had been received from regional Mayors in relation to the UHW cardiac issue.
In September, councillors passed a motion which mandated Mayor of Waterford City & County, Cllr Adam Wyse (FF) to approach Councils in Kilkenny, Wexford and South Tipperary in relation to cardiac services at UHW and to ascertain if there’s a political will to pursue the case for 24/7 cardiac care at UHW.
Responding to Cllr Roche, Mayor Wyse said there had been responses, adding that the Mayors were “receptive to a meeting”.
Mayor Wyse said the meeting would be “representative” of the council.
However, Cllr Roche asked if all of Waterford’s Councillors could meet with UHW cardiologists as she said this would allow them all to “hear from the horse’s mouth”.
Mayor Wyse said he would make contact with the cardiologists with a view to arranging such a meeting.