As staff and patients at Ballinasloe’s Portiuncula Hospital await a decision on the future of oncology services at the hospital, unions are gearing up to launch a public protest and petition in support of the retention of services.
Last week the HSE said that no decision had been taken to remove the oncology service from Portiuncula Hospital. However, fears remain that the HSE is planning to cease oncology services at Ballinasloe.
IMPACT representative Padraig Mulligan says that some 1,800 people used the services in 2008, while the figure for 2009 was 2,000.
“I contacted the HSE, and my position was that HSE stands for heartless, soulless, and emotionless. Only someone heartless could make this kind of decision.
“People using oncology services are the most vulnerable people who are facing a crisis in their lives. It is a most terrifying time, and anything that can be done to make it easier should be accommodated.
“To think these people will be moved to James’s Hospital in Dublin - Portiuncula is already taking the overflow from Galway. James’s is the only place there is capacity, the service is completely blocked up.”
Union members at Portiuncula Hospital in Ballinasloe have announced they are launching a petition for members of the public to declare they will not support any politician who won’t support the hospital.
Local politicians will also be asked to sign a petition to pledge their support for the hospital.
“I have contacted all the local TDs to address this, and led by Eamon Ó Cuiv they are meeting with the HSE on Friday [today],” said Mr Mulligan.
IMPACT is also planning a protest to take place at the upcoming Fianna Fáil parliamentary party gathering in Galway.