Don’t just throw money at health service, fix it

Don’t just throw money at health service, fix it

I write in relation to the letter from Dr Frank Davey, Laytown, Co Meath in the national media where he wrote about the tinkering with the GP service.

The very basis of his letter, is the correlation between this tinkering with the GP service and the number of patients that end up in A&Es.

Heretofore, GPs made house visits, no co-op doctors but doctors on rota 9pm to 9am, doctors treated people in their homes and hospital referrals were kept to a minimum.

Ireland has a bed occupancy rate of 93.8% while the OECD average is 77.3%.

Alex O’Shaughnessy’s mother Agnes, like many others, has to bare her soul on Twitter and RTÉ to fight for life-saving treatment for Alex, the Talty family from Limerick have to do likewise for their 92-year-old mother and all the others that have done likewise.

Though not perfect, this never happened when the health boards ran the health services with a lot less money and what we could have done with €17bn.

The HSE, around since 2005 has wrecked our health services because the tinkering that Dr Davey writes about in his courageous letter to the Independent would not be tolerated by the EHB Programme Manager that I worked for, because the patient came first then.

The mantra was, we would not need health boards, medical staff, nurses, paramedics, administrators, etc if there were no patients.

Putting more money into the health services is like throwing the most expensive deck chairs onto the Titanic, it has to be fixed first.

The HSE spend vast amounts on spin doctors instead of doctors and on management consultants instead of consultants.

Those of us in the know, know that fixing the health services is not predicated on just one issue but a myriad of them like an integrated community care, integrated hospital care, Primary Care open 8am to 9pm, free medical training for medical students like France whereby every child in the state with points can realise their full potential, penalties on hospitals were patients are waiting for over six hours, employment of more permanent and advanced practitioner nurses and the reduction in the employment of agency nurses, transformational leadership, and synergies.

It is time to turn the dial back and take our health services back for our people.

John Larkin

Newtownmountkennedy

Co Wicklow

This reader's opinion was originally published in the letters page of the Irish Examiner print edition on 23 December 2019.

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