CITY councillor Fiona Ryan said that she will blame the government and not nurses if the upcoming INMO strike costs her a long-awaited cancer screening.
The Cork City North-Central councillor is scheduled for a screening for the BRCA 1 gene on January 30, the same day that INMO members are set to strike.
The gene dramatically increases the chance of someone developing cancer, and several members of Ms Ryan’s family have died because of it.
Due to strict rules which forced her father to also get a screening to prove that she has a 50% chance of having the gene, it took her more than a year to get on the waiting list, and she has been waiting a further six months since then.
She said that the strike may mean outpatient and non-emergency appointments may be cancelled due to the strike, but that is not the fault of nurses and midwives.
“The nurses hands have been forced,” she said.
Ms Ryan said that nurses in Cork University Hospital’s oncology services have provided her with “excellent service” in recent months, despite the pressure they are under.
She took issue with a statement from Leo Varadkar earlier this week when he said that a mid-week strike would hurt patients.
“When Leo Varadkar used people in my situation — people who might miss appointments — I took grave insult.
“He does not speak for me, and I don’t think he speaks for the majority of patients, who I think will fall behind the nurses for the fabulous care they have given us,” she said.
She said that it was hypocritical of him to criticise nurses for delaying appointments when he has presided over a system where more than 700,000 people are on waiting lists.
She also accused the Patients Association of “sitting on the fence” after spokesperson Stephen McMahon urged all sides to sit down and come to an agreement.
“The Patients Association is sitting on the fence.
“The nurses are not just fighting over their conditions, they are fighting for the future of the health service. That’s what’s at stake here,” she said.