Saturday, October 20, 2007

Paddy Murray Is (not that) Unwell (he hopes) VII

STEVE McQueen tried to do it on a motorbike.
They tunnelled out of Colditz.
But I got out in a taxi.
Hospital’s not that bad really. The staff would cheer you up.
It is absolutely correct to say that everyone on the front line of our health service works hard, does everything they can and tries their best for the patients.
It is equally true to say that they don’t really have a hope.

This week, six porters tried to do the work of 17 in the x-ray department at St James’s Hospital in Dublin.
Four phlebotomists tried to do the work of seven, taking blood samples from around the wards.
The doctor who saw me at 8am on Friday morning, was the same one who discharged me twelve hours later.
That’s thanks to the cutbacks, put in place by the HSE. They’re the cutbacks, we are told, which are having no effect on patients. That’s just simply a lie.
The one thing most health service front line workers seem to have in common with each other, is a desire to get out.
It would take an article the length of a short novel to detail the problems in Ireland’s health service.
Suffice it to say, that comparing it with Britain - as Health Minister Mary Harney did during the week when comparing the ratio of administrators to front line staff - isn’t a good place to start.
If there is a health service in a worse state than ours, it’s theirs.
Politicians have, of course, chucked money at this problem for years. But it’s they’ve done.
They have written cheques without, it seems, having the foggiest idea as to why.
Bureaucrats told them the service needed more money, and so, fearing an electoral backlash, more money was provided.
But was was needed, and what IS needed, is a root and branch examination of the service.
Someone needs to find out why the vast bulk of workers are unhappy, unfulfilled, frustrated, planning to leave - or all four.
Doctors tell you their job is all but impossible.
I can vouch that my own doctors work incredible hours. And if they are rewarded with salaries similar - when even everything is taken into consideration - to that our TDs get, well, so be it. They’re actually worth more.
The facilities in which the medical staffs have to work, and therefore in which the patients have to be treated, are abysmal.
Waiting rooms are overcrowded. Newly built buildings were designed a decade or more ago and are now completely unsuitable.
If our minister and those she has appointed to run the health service were even vaguely serious about improving the situation, they would, for example, ensure that the food served to patients was top class. It isn’t.
They would ensure that free broadband was provided for patients. It isn’t.
They would ensure a standard of cleanliness that was second to none. They haven’t.
They would provide sufficient staff in every area, and fund it by cutting administration costs. But they haven’t.
Imagine. There is one administrator for every five frontline staff in the health service. Why?
I’m at home and receiving my intravenous antibiotics from a super company called Tara Healthcare. If such a company was used more, hundreds of beds could be freed up in hospitals.
But no. We just blather on, with the Minister spending more time on RTE than she does behind her desk.
She is providing over a demoralised service.
And while she may talk about improvements, the reality is, nothing has changed.
I’m getting good treatment. I hope I’m not well.
Sadly, though, the health service is critically ill.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Glad to see you back home with your beloved Connie and your darling daughter Charlotte. From Noels