Hospital groups show united front in battle against cuts
A national campaign that aims to protect hospital services and reverse healthcare cuts was launched yesterday.
The group said it will hold rallies in Dublin and around the country.
Representatives from regional hospital campaign groups, who represent thousands of people across the country, met in Dublin yesterday to lay out the aims of the new group and to discuss what measures it would adopt.
The inaugural meeting of the movement, called the National Hospital Campaign, was called by former Sinn Fein TD Peadar Toibin, who has been actively involved in the campaign to save services at Navan Hospital in his own Meath West constituency.
Mr Toibin said it was crucial individual groups unite to make the issue of hospital closures a national issue.
The TD, who says he will shortly be rejoining Sinn Fein, said decisions on health services had been made out of a need to save money and not on patient safety.
The group's objectives include an effort to prevent the closure of hospital services around the country, to reinstate services already cut and to highlight the crisis facing ambulance services.
Dr Ruairi Hanley, a GP and member of the campaign to save Navan Hospital, outlined how the Government had carried out cutbacks in regional hospitals and dismissed the argument that the country didn't need smaller hospitals.