Local election candidate Cllr Declan Hurley (Ind) is in no doubt that the recent description of the health service as ‘a black hole’ is totally justified.
His campaign slogan is ‘Committed to community, dedicated to progress’ and when it comes to health he has some treatments.
‘There are a lot of issues on people’s minds at the moment but one that is at the forefront is health,’ he told the Southern Star.
‘Previous governments have tried to deal with this, the current government have failed to deal with it and it has become even worse if anything.
‘There are staffing shortages, overcrowding and lengthy patient waiting lists. If we could dismantle the whole health structure and start again from a grassroots base back in the community, that would be best way of treating this whole disaster.’
It sounds like a big problem but Declan is sure it can be addressed.
‘Big issues can have local solutions,’ he said. ‘Community hospitals are vital to this.’
Hurley, who has served as Mayor, feels that one of the solutions lies in having an adequate supply of frontline staff in local hospitals.
‘Why can’t consultants come down to West Cork, set up in Bantry hospital and see some local patients here – that would take pressure of the lists at CUH and other hospitals,’ the Dunmanway councillor said.
Hurley is also adamant in his belief that the management of the HSE is just too top heavy.
‘Since 2012 we have seen an increase of around 600 in management staff, whereas in the last six months there has been a loss of 60 frontline staff. There’s a big imbalance there,’ said Hurley, who is hoping to be elected for a third time.
Despite the many negatives associated with Ireland’s health service, Hurley is keen to point out the great work that goes on at local level.
‘Community group such as Friends of Bantry Hospital and Friends of Dunmanway Hospital have been fundraising constantly over many years to maintain their hospitals with great local support,’ he noted.
‘They have raised over €600,000 for Bantry hospital in the past 10 years which is an incredible achievement and reflects upon how much people want to see their local hospitals grow and develop and to keep their doors open in the first place.’