Money won’t cure the ails of Ire­land’s fal­ter­ing health ser­vice, but Mau­rice Gueret says the odd medal wouldn’t go amiss

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Life - - RUDE HEALTH - Dr Mau­rice Gueret is ed­i­tor of the ‘Ir­ish Med­i­cal Di­rec­tory’ dr­mau­

named af­ter a New York city po­lice com­mis­sioner and phi­lan­thropist who funded the award into per­pe­tu­ity for per­sonal brav­ery. There are other awards too, in­clud­ing bronze medals and spe­cial ci­ta­tions. It struck me on the day that our health ser­vice could re­ally find a sim­i­lar way of hon­our­ing those who go be­yond their call of duty. A nurse, a ward cleaner, a fam­ily doc­tor, a chemist, a para­medic, a porter or a con­sul­tant geri­a­tri­cian might all be fu­ture can­di­dates for some­thing like a Noel Browne me­mo­rial medal. The re­ward for far too many health prac­ti­tion­ers these days is that they strike them­selves off the reg­is­ter on the day they re­tire, as they can no longer ful­fil the box-tick­ing ex­er­cise of main­tain­ing com­pe­tence. They are for­got­ten about, and dis­ap­pear with­out trace. No­body writes to say thanks. Min­is­ter Har­ris may not have long enough in of­fice to make the im­por­tant con­tri­bu­tion he wants to. But he might con­sider a State award for a sec­tor badly in need of a morale shot. Just one day a year when a well-cho­sen few might take the hon­ours for all. steel-toe-capped boots. Aldi con­verted the old tram de­pot on the road lead­ing into Rath­gar, and the re­sult­ing ar­chi­tec­tural gem is de­scribed as its most salu­bri­ous store in Ire­land. Un­less you need to sit down, that is. Older peo­ple, es­pe­cially those liv­ing alone, do like to get out to the shops. The small size and con­ve­nient aisles of these Ger­man su­per­mar­kets suit their needs. But ev­ery now and then, a breather is needed, or a dizzy spell may have to be averted. With the ex­cep­tion of check­out swivel chairs and rat­tan-ef­fect gar­den fur­ni­ture on spe­cial of­fer, there isn’t a sin­gle place for an ail­ing cus­tomer who needs a mo­men­tary sit down to do so. Not a fa­tal de­sign flaw, but an in­con­ve­nient one. There has been quite a po­lit­i­cal row go­ing on in the UK about whether pa­tients are more likely to die in hos­pi­tals if they are ad­mit­ted on Satur­days and Sun­days. Well, the lat­est re­search from Lon­don is show­ing that men­tally ill in­pa­tients are most at risk of death on Wed­nes­days. Co­in­ci­den­tally, that’s the day that the

is on tele­vi­sion.

Bake Off Great Bri­tish

youth are fas­ci­nat­ing. McGah­ern’s mother con­tracted breast can­cer dur­ing her child­bear­ing years, and she had to leave Leitrim to be treated. She had surgery un­der Mr Cor­co­ran in the old Mater Hospi­tal, where med­i­cal care was charge­able. There was no change from two guineas a week, when four guineas a week might have been her teacher’s in­come. Af­ter surgery, she cut costs by stay­ing at a board­ing house in Dun Laoghaire and trav­el­ling by tram in and out of the Mater for treat­ment. She had to write to her hus­band to re­as­sure him that she was spend­ing noth­ing in the city other than her tram fare. In a later preg­nancy, her hus­band wished her to at­tend a lo­cal nurs­ing home in Boyle, which would have been a cheaper op­tion. But her sur­geon ad­vised she should only give birth at Holles Street hospi­tal. So she had to leave her fam­ily in Leitrim, travel up to Dublin to stay in the small Cum­ber­land Ho­tel on West­land Row, and wait for the day that her ‘healthy lump’ was born. There was the con­stant worry of on­go­ing ho­tel bills in the event of a late ar­rival. Mrs McGah­ern gave birth to seven chil­dren in all, some of them af­ter her breast can­cer di­ag­no­sis. She died the year af­ter her last baby was born. Study­ing the health ex­pe­ri­ences of one or two gen­er­a­tions back can have the ef­fect of mak­ing us com­plain just a lit­tle less.

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