We demand that the Government open up our health service now. Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, vital services across the country have been suspended or postponed – particularly services and treatments in the healthcare sector. Hundreds of thousands of people have been waiting for months on end for essential treatments.
STATE OF SERVICES:
Mental Health Services:
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 & 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.
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 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.
GP services – already in major difficulty – are now under serious pressure. GP referrals and access to diagnostics are still dramatically impacted.
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.
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.