No competence left in our ‘health’ system

MY stay in hospital, three or four years ago, confirmed for me that, while care was usually present in abundance below doctor level, there was no real competence left anywhere.

Mental health patients fare even worse. Basically, our “health” department has become an illness management system — a sales arm for big pharma. The word cure is rarely mentioned any more, only treatment. The whole system is so faulty that people are even writing books about it. The first two that spring to mind are Selling Sickness by Ronnie Plant of Wexford (a dynamic man of 82 still fighting the illness system), and The Human Condition by John McCarthy of Cork, the brilliant founder of Mad Pride. He will gladly and most articulately tell anybody how lucky he was to have just survived the Irish mental health system.

In the USA, the “health” system is now openly accepted as the third of the fourth leading cause of death (after heart disease, cancer and, possibly, strokes). We are probably approaching those figures. It cannot be said too often that until our health ministry is run by somebody devoted not to illness but to health, and trained and competent in that area, people will continue to die in and around hospitals here.

Dick Barton


Co Wicklow

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