These are the dreaded four words that no wife, husband, father, mother, brother, sister, grandmother or grandfather will every wish to ask, when accompanying a loved one, unfortunate enough to need cardiac care outside the Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm window available in University Hospital Waterford.
If you have not experienced the anxiety of this horrifying journey, and I have not, to Cork or Dublin, in the back of an ambulance, then none of us can understand the stress of knowing that the clock is ticking ever so slowly to and, more than likely, beyond that 90 minute safety window.
The simple fact is that getting to Cork and Dublin, even with the blues and twos, will in truth take longer than 90 minutes. One simple hold up, one unaccounted for set of road works, a sporting weekend, a car crash or simply hitting rush hour traffic, will eat into this safety time zone. No matter what spin is put on this by Minister Harris or other Government Ministers it would be a miracle if that 90 minute window, could ever be achieved in the real the world.
Perhaps, the Minister has never driven to Cork along the N25? It is at best an o.k. road and at worst full of bottlenecks, eating into any journey time. The road does not allow for consistent travel and therefore we cannot rely on time to getting to our sister Cork hospital for coronary care within the golden timeframe.
Going to Dublin now has a much better dependable journey time, up the M9 motorway. That is until you hit the outskirts of Dublin. Once again you are in the hands of the traffic gods and getting into the heart of Dublin can be hit or miss. Even if you are in the back of an ambulance, when every second counts, it is still a time gamble.
|24th September 2016|
Our Minister is adamant that he is “not for turning”, a modern day Mrs Thatcher perhaps. He has been at pains to let everyone know that the Herity Report, with all its flaws, will be taken as Gospel. The people in this South East region will forever be playing traffic roulette in the back of an ambulance.
I recall meeting Minister Harris, on a number of occasions, in his previous role with reference to his old portfolio, which included responsibility for national Government tendering. Thankfully, he listened to our reasoned and sound arguments to make changes, to allow local businesses to compete with multi-national companies and he did implement change on this basis. So we can take some encouragement from this. He is sometimes willing to listen.
As I have said many times, perhaps we have gone about this in the wrong way! Look at our Teflon neighbour, Mr Lowry, getting ALL that he wanted, in terms of local health care provision for Tipperary. We would not have heard about this, only that we started looking at what other “Government Independents” were getting for helping Enda come back into power. Mr Lowry went about his business quietly, methodically and ultimately delivered “exactly what it said on the tin” of his election manifesto.
|Hook & Browne?|
Have we been too naive in fighting this battle in the glare of the national media? Quite simply we have given the likes of Messer Hook and Browne the opportunity to use a substantial baseball bat, to bash Waterford once again. They are collectively laughing at us from their Dublin Towers. But rest assured if they were unfortunate enough to have to endure a 90 minute life or death journey in the back of an ambulance then their mindset would change in an instant.
We marched once again in monsoon like conditions, at the weekend, and received breviloquent RTE coverage. Where now for the Waterford and the South East?
What is guaranteed is that it will take more than 90 minutes to fix this dilemma.