Aontú Leader & Meath West TD Peadar Tóibín directly called on an Taoiseach Micheál Martin at leaders questions in the Dáil today to reopen critical health services across the country to those who desperately need them. He stated:
“I received a message from a Doctor in the last few days. He said to me: “I’ve luckily had no patients who have died from coronavirus. I have at least 3 though who have had delayed cancer diagnoses due to delays and shut down. They will almost certainly die. I have many others who are desperate to be seen by specialists but are hitting a brick wall trying.” Undeniably, shut down of the health services is killing people”.
This is a startling statement by a doctor and its not an isolated situation. Around the country many people who are cancer symptomatic are facing a brick wall due to reduced or closed services. The consequences of this will be enormous and tragic for hundreds of people. “Cancellation of cancer screening likewise has seen thousands of abnormalities, precancerous cells and cancers missed. We have this bizarre and confused situation that you can get a haircut in Ireland but you can’t get a Breast Check”.
“One of the most frustrating aspects about this crisis has been the refusal of the government to research the human cost in terms of mortality and morbidity of the shut down of the health services. Without this information the decisions being made in terms of health care resources are not evidence-based decisions”.
Peadar Tóibín who himself has had a Melanoma Cancer diagnosis in the last 2 months stated;
“Without information, resource allocation is being made on the blind. I am calling in the government for the umpteenth time to open all critical health services to patients immediately – lives can be saved if we act now.”
An Teachta Tóibín also used the example of Mental Health Services to indicate the dangers of closed services he stated;
“The National Suicide Research Foundation collects data on self-harm presentations to hospital emergency departments. That important data collection service was suspended in the vast majority of hospitals up to the end of June. Even today that data on Self Harm is still not being collected at each of the Emergency Departments around the country”.
“Face to face consultations for people with serious mental health illness are still down, I understand by up to 70%. Much of this has been replaced by telephone calls. Phone calls are no substitute for person suffering from Mental Health issues”.
“This Year we know in advance that there will be exceptional pressure. This gives us the chance to prepare properly. Taoiseach don’t leave 100,000 women in a que for Breast check. Don’t create a hierarchy of illness, don’t pit one patient against another in their pursuit of treatment. Will you provide the necessary resources now”?