As the debate rages on surrounding St. Luke’s Department of Psychiatry Stephanie Hanlon, the local election candidate for Kilkenny City for People Before Profit calls for a root and branch reform of how our health service is run.
Ms. Hanlon, who has severe and uncontrolled epilepsy, is one of the few people with a disability who is contesting the local elections. She says that not only do we need greater representation and more people with disabilities in politics, it has also given her a unique perspective into how the health care system is run.
Ms. Hanlon said, ‘I have had to rely on the health care system most of my life and I see the same problems emerging. Yes we need increased funding for our services but we also need to look at how they are run. I am calling for a root and branch reform of our health care system. Across the board our health system, but particularly our mental health services in Kilkenny, should be run by the communities, by the patients and by the front-line staff and not the middle management of the HSE who are on inflated wages.’
Ms. Hanlon added, ‘Big problems start to emerge when a select few suits start to make decisions behind closed doors. There is no accountability and too much bureaucracy. I am fighting this election to see more grassroots democracy and I want to revitalize our health care system. Patients and staff are being left behind, the community is being failed. Things need to change, and this should come from the bottom up.’
The European election candidate for Ireland South, Adrienne Wallace, added that ‘There is a deliberate attempt to run down our public health service to try and sell us the notion that privatized care is better. Many are already being forced to go private because waiting lists are too long. Between the lack of 24/7 cardiac care for the South East and the collapse of CAMHS it is more than evident that we need to move away from this Neo-liberal model of care, we need health equality. People Before Profit want to see an NHS type system here.’