Min­is­ter ‘must fund the re­pairs or get a new bus’

The Sligo Champion - - NEWS -

MIN­IS­TER for Health, Si­mon Har­ris has been asked to in­ter­vene to pro­vide fund­ing so that the des­ig­nated bus trans­port­ing can­cer pa­tients from Sligo to Gal­way can be put back on the road.

The bus, on the road since 2011, is no longer in ser­vice and now Cllr De­clan Bree says the Min­is­ter for Health needs to pro­vide the nec­es­sary fund­ing to put the bus back into ser­vice or to re­place it with a new one.

In 2011, in the af­ter­math of the trans­fer of the breast can­cer ser­vice from Sligo to Univer­sity Hospi­tal Gal­way, can­cer sur­vivors in Sligo suc­cess­fully cam­paigned to have a spe­cially de­signed bus to trans­port can­cer pa­tients to Gal­way.

“Be­fore the new pur­pose built bus was pur­chased pa­tients had to en­dure the gru­elling round trip to Gal­way on buses which were to­tally un­suit­able and ill-equipped to ad­dress the needs and com­fort of can­cer pa­tients.” Cllr Bree said.

“Thanks to the lob­by­ing and suc­cess­ful cam­paign led by can­cer sur­vivors Ca­tri­ona McGoldrick and Va­lerie Fi­nan and oth­ers, and an un­der­tak­ing from the then Min­is­ter for Health, fund­ing was even­tu­ally pro­vided for the new pur­pose built bus.

“The 28 seater bus was spe­cially de­signed, with can­cer pa­tients them­selves be­ing con­sulted as to its re­quire­ments.

“It was cus­tom fit­ted with re­clin­ing seats, a mod­ern toi­let, wash­ing fa­cil­i­ties and air con­di­tion­ing.

“It has served the peo­ple of this com­mu­nity well in the in­ter­ven­ing pe­riod.

“How­ever, I am led to be­lieve that main­te­nance costs for the up­keep of the ve­hi­cle have risen sig­nif­i­cantly in re­cent times lead­ing to the bus be­ing taken out of ser­vice.

“The buses cur­rently in use on the Sligo- Gal­way route are not pur­pose built and in this con­text fund­ing is now re­quired to ei­ther up­grade the ex­ist­ing bus or re­place it with a new bus.

“It strikes me that a new pur­pose built bus would be the most eco­nom­i­cal method to re­solve the prob­lem.

“Peo­ple are most vul­ner­a­ble when they are in the midst of can­cer treat­ment and they can­not be ex­pected to cam­paign and lobby for the pro­vi­sion of such a ser­vice.

“Ire­land is a mod­ern and wealthy democ­racy which can well af­ford to pro­vide such fa­cil­i­ties for can­cer pa­tients.

“I will be rais­ing this is­sue as a mat­ter of ur­gency at next weeks Coun­cil meeting and I have no doubt but that other coun­cil­lors will be do­ing like­wise.

“It is my view that the Min­is­ter for Health must now take the nec­es­sary steps to en­sure that ad­e­quate re­sources are put in place to ei­ther up­grade the ex­ist­ing bus or re­place it with a new bus.” said Cllr Bree.

Gerry McManus of Friends of Sligo Univer­sity Hospi­tal at the wheel of the bus when it was launched in April 2011.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.