Another bizarre HSE initiative - Donegal patients sent to Dublin

HARDLY a day goes by but that something is revealed about our €13bn health service that justifies anger and disappointment. 

At this time of the year it is usually that so many people are left waiting in accident and emergency wards for hours, if not days, on end before being admitted to a hospital bed. This year is no different and that sorry saga continues. That this bottleneck persists despite the efforts of a litany of health ministers — including the incumbent — points to the terrible difficulties involved, a lack of resources and the overriding need for a strategy that will move this issue from the critical to the pressing category. Intransigence may play a part too.

Another story highlighting the dysfunction eating at the fringes of our usually admirable health service emerged yesterday when it was reported that hundreds of elderly Donegal people will have to travel to Dublin for treatment after the HSE outsourced appointments to private hospitals. The initiative is aimed at cutting waiting lists, which has seen more than 21,000 patients nationally reassigned to private providers so targets can be met.

This is a shameful failure in a country ranked among the richest in the world and should only be considered in the most extreme circumstances. And why could the medical staff not go to the patients even on a temporary basis? This is undoubtedly a complex issue but it is increasingly difficult to accept that a shortage of resources is the only issue in play.

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