Cllr. Tina MacVeigh Calls On Dublin City Council To Back The Campaign For An All-Ireland National Health Service

Today, Monday 18th January 2021, Cllr. Tina MacVeigh People Before Profit will table a motion calling on Dublin City Council to pledge support for the Campaign for an All-Ireland National Health Service.

The motion comes after the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation this week called for private hospital capacity to be fully nationalised into the public system – which is also a key demand of the Campaign for an All-Ireland National Health Service.   

The Campaign, set up in May 2020, has received support from three other councils, and from over a hundred trade unionists, academics, community activists, healthcare workers and others. Tonight’s motion is being seconded by Sinn Féin Councillor Máire Devine.

Speaking ahead of the meeting tonight, Cllr. Tina MacVeigh proposing the motion stated:

“Our discussion at Dublin City Council’s meeting tonight comes at a critical moment. As our communities have struggled to cope with the threat of disease, job losses, isolation and lockdown, the response from our local authority and our community sector has been a tremendous lifeline. Certainly the residents of our city have shown incredible resilience. In these times of great uncertainty and upheaval however, there are things we can be absolutely certain about:

  • The pandemic has stripped away the covers from our health service and revealed the consequences of decades of under-resourcing and out-sourcing North and South: our frontline health workers are disoriented and exhausted, our people frustrated, distressed and sick.  

  • Ireland in 2021 has one of the lowest levels of hospital beds, at three quarters the EU average, and, even worse, the levels of ICU beds at half the EU average.   

  • The recent government deal with the private hospitals is inadequate, both for the scale of the Covid crisis and for the exponential number of patients waiting for urgent non-Covid treatments and certainly reveals the need for urgent expansion of public provision by way of nationalisation of private hospitals.

  • Poor coordination North and South has worsened the pandemic on our island. A shining example of what is possible came in December when ambulance crews from the south worked with their Northern counterparts to provide support for patients as health services in the North were overwhelmed. 

  • The result of decades old under resourcing and poor north south coordination is that this small Island compares poorly with similar countries like Denmark or New Zealand, with infection rates and death rates more similar to the chaotic response of Trump’s United States”.

Cllr. MacVeigh said: “We can be certain that we cannot go back to the broken health services of pre Covid-19. The disease does not recognise borders. An All-Ireland National Health Service is not just necessary now but increasingly urgent.  We can be also certain that with a change of heart and a change of policy this situation can be turned around, in months and years rather than decades. But we must start urgently. 

“This motion to support the Campaign for an All-Ireland NHS is not just necessary but now, increasingly, an urgent necessity and an urgent call must go from our Council tonight to our political and health sector leaders North and South: the time to act is now.”

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