For a start a boycott on providing all services to health minister Dr James O'Rielly should be instigated followed by a withdrawal of all services to all government personnel.This may be followed by a boycott of all party members of the two leading government parties.
If there were any justice then TDs from the leading parties should be subjected to an equal measure of pain per week as Mr Thomas Keaveney.
The time for revolution is NOW
Cancer patient refused specialist pain treatment due to cutbacks
By Fiachra Ó Cionnaith
Saturday, April 07, 2012
A man who survived cancer three times in the last decade has been told he can no longer receive specialist pain treatment at a major hospital due to HSE and Department of Health cutbacks.
Thomas Keaveney, aged 40, from Lifford in Co Donegal, revealed the situation in a letter sent to Health Minister Dr James Reilly and seen by the Irish Examiner.
The father-of-two was first diagnosed with seminoma/testicular cancer at Letterkenny General Hospital in 2001 before being referred to St Vincent’s University Hospital in Dublin for specialist care.
Just two years later he was again diagnosed with cancer, this time of the stomach glands and chest glands, and returned to St Vincent’s for chemotherapy.
Despite the high-quality care he received, in 2005 the stomach and chest cancer relapsed and were joined by a cancerous tumour in the base of Mr Keaveney’s neck, meaning he had to return to St Vincent’s for aggressive chemotherapy.
After this treatment ended on Dec 27, 2005, Mr Keaveney suffered related pains in his neck and back and began specialist pain treatment at St Vincent’s from 2006 until this week.
However, despite the delicate nature of the support — which involves inserting needles which burn off the damaged areas’ nerve endings to provide short-term pain relief — on Tuesday, he was told he could no longer receive this support.
Explaining the sudden change, a member of pain specialist consultant Dr Declan O’Keeffe’s team told Mr Keaveney this was because of HSE and Department of Health budget cut-related changes which mean hospitals cannot provide the care to patients outside their catchment area.
The only catchment area Mr Keaveney lives in is for Letterkenny General and Sligo General — neither of which have the necessary specialist services he needs.
"I was taken into an office and a doctor proceeded to ask me how I was feeling. I said I was glad to be there because I was in a lot of pain.
"At this point her facial expression changed and she began to tell me that, due to cutbacks and more so that because I was not in the catchment area, they could no longer offer me the procedures," the letter to Mr Reilly stated.
"Dr O’Keeffe confirmed the above and went on to state that he too was upset to tell his patients this; that his role was to monitor his patients and administer appropriate medical treatment, not to tell them that they could no longer receive this due to money issues," it added.
Speaking to this newspaper, Mr Keaveney said neither he nor the hospital knows where he will now receive the support needed, if it is provided.
A spokesperson for St Vincent’s said the case will be raised with the hospital’s board on Monday week in an attempt to find a solution, but stressed that the facility currently has no option other than imposing HSE and Department of Health policies.
"We have been told by the HSE that we will not be funded for treating patients from outside our catchment area, and that the HSE funding provided is to be dedicated to the care of St Vincent’s catchment area patients only, except in the case of the national designated liver transplant programme," he said.
"St Vincent’s has pursued this approach with deep regret, but it has no option."
A spokesperson for the minister declined to comment on the specific case.