Another embarrassing day: Health failures on a grand scale

It is an embarrassing coincidence that on the very day that, according to the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, a 2019 record for of patients — 631 — on a trolley awaiting a hospital bed has been reached that a report suggested that the long-awaited National Children’s Hospital will cost more than €1.7bn — over double the 2014 estimates.

Five years ago that figure stood at €800m — it hit €983m in 2017 and stands at €1.43bn today.

Equipping the building and providing IT services will push the bill towards €1.73bn but only the wildest optimist would bet against it reaching €2bn.

Did someone imagine computers might not be needed?

Both of these figures, tragically, can only be described as dysfunction on a grand scale.

Poor political oversight and sleazy parish-pump interference played a huge role in the hospital debacle but despite that anyone who believe in, and longs for, credible management of public services cannot but be disappointed.

These failures and too many more in our health service make it increasingly difficult to hope that we can manage our public services in a credible way.

OECD figures that show we pay above international norms for below average services confirm this.

So too does the fact that our nurses, among the best paid in the world, are so dissatisfied.

But then, what can be expected from a circle-the-wagons system where real, career-defining or ending accountability as scarce as a hospital bed?

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