PAUL MILLS: Money won’t cure HSE ills

Despite the fact that our health system is overloaded over Christmas every year and despite the fact the Government of the day talks about being better prepared the following year, every year we get it wrong, writes Paul Mills

There was an estimated 575 patients on trollies across the country at the start of the week, supposedly down from 677 patients the previous week.

A doctor speaking on RTÉ Radio argued that excessive numbers of trollies created psychological problems for patients and interfered with medical staff nursing other patients. It made emergency departments more inefficient.

A health system, which should be a 24-7-365 day operation, continues to be badly run. The bottom line is when you work in a service like the police, or the fire service or in hospitals, the job requires that the proverbial show must go on. The problems with our health service have been with us a long time.

In battling with vested interests, we have put round pegs into square holes and the underlying problems have never been solved. Over the last week or so we have once again been told that Government is injecting more money for quick fixes for specific problems.

The dilemma is that no matter how much money is provided the problems do not go away. It’s just that more money gets swallowed up without any real benefit for those who provide it, the taxpayer.

We are told that Health Minister Simon Harris and Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe are inclined to increase pay for nurses and doctors to solve the trolley crisis. The suggestion here is medical staff would do a better job if only they were paid more--an insult to the professionals who work in the system.

Not pumping in money has been proven to have failed. The union, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation has claimed that policy effectively encourages nurses to emigrate.

It is clear that there are far more fundamental problems impacting on our health service than simply money.



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