No quick cure for health service ills
■ When trying to ascertain what exactly ails our health service, one need look no further than the outcry from consultants at the mere suggestion that private patients should not be treated in public hospitals in a bid to free up beds to address the grotesque level of inequity in the system (“Maternity care will be harmed if private beds lost, consultants warn”, Irish Independent, August 10).
It seems self-interest is alive and well despite what the country has gone through this past decade. Do they care at all about the one million on waiting lists? Or the situation where one citizen can face waiting years for care while another, who can afford to pay, saunters on past the queue to be treated within days in a public hospital? And dare we mention that many on those waiting lists, despite their years of tax contributions to provide the facilities, will never get to see the inside of a hospital?
The Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, which in recent times was never off the airwaves expressing the need for compassion in healthcare, seems now to be very comfortable with many people being treated cruelly so long as the gravy train is left undisturbed. It went on to suggest that a one-tier public system would “deprive women of their choice of care”, when in fact it is the very existence of that “choice” which condemns the majority to suffer and wait for care.
Sadly, the vested interests can rest easy. This and previous governments’ policy of leaving things to the “market” means that nothing will change soon – just look at the appalling housing crisis as a good example of how far our politicians will go to protect interest groups.