Kilkenny woman Susie Long dies due to health system failure


In Ireland we like to think that we’ve long ago abolished the death penalty; that we’ve progressed beyond such primitive practices, that we’re too civilized for that. But Irish people are still being sentenced to death, and not even for crimes they have committed but for the crimes of our murderous health system. Long waiting lists, unhygienic hospitals, downgrading of regional hospitals, are all symptoms of a rotten institution that refuses to reform.

The case of Susie Long has demonstrated this unquestionably. Ms Long died of treatable bowel cancer, because a late diagnosis due to long waiting lists prevented the cancer being treated on time. When challenged about Ms Long’s death our dear leader had the gall to declare that the system had failed Ms Long and sympathised with her family. This is the same Taoiseach who has presided over ten years of havoc in the health system. The same Taoiseach who appointed Mary Harney as Minister for Health. The same Taoiseach who has said nothing about the Health Service recruitment freeze which has resulted in staff layoffs around the country.

Susie Long was killed by a government that would rather pump money into the private sector than grant nurses a pay rise; that would buy beds for VHI while patients sleep on trolleys, that fires medical staff while we have the longest waiting lists in Europe. The root of this madness is the two tiered system that guarantees better healthcare for those who can afford to pay for it and leaves the rest with substandard service. Quality healthcare should be a universal right, it’s time that we stood up and demanded it.

This article is from Workers Solidarity 100 Nov/Dec 2007

PDF of Workers Solidarity 100