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Problems Problems

Health – A Political Football.

Throughout my years of involvement with the Health Services at local and National level I have always met with the same obstacle – politics. The health services have always been a political football where the Opposition parties blamed the parties in power for the lack of action and the lack of services but then when they get into power they continue the system in place and the new Opposition now blames them. The party(s) in power will not yield to the demands of the opposition parties and so very little is achieved.

We saw this whole situation play out again in the past couple of weeks when a Junior Minister agrees to come to Monaghan to discuss the Monaghan General Hospital situation and to be briefed on the possibility of using small hospitals, like Monaghan, to help ease the trolley crisis and to reduce the long waiting lists. Then with behind the scenes activity it now appears that the Junior Minister will not be coming to Monaghan but the Minister himself has been invited.

We will wait and see what happens next but Minister Harris has said that he is prepared to look at the possibility of using the small hospitals for elective surgery to ease the crisis that exists. However the Government also stated that they want to build three new hospitals for elective surgery. The Minister first stated that one would be along the M50 but later that changed as these hospitals would have to be adjacent to existing Tertiary Hospitals. The Childrens’ Hospital could not be built, they said, along the M50 so they are being consistent, if nothing else. However anyone who has to go to St. James Hospital knows the problems in getting there and then parking. When the Childrens’ Hospital opens it will be much worse.

The problems in our health services have not gone away – as a matter of fact they have got worse by the week. Huge numbers lying on trolleys waiting for a bed each day, about 700,000 waiting for a first appointment/treatment, unacceptable delays in ambulance times, elective surgery cancelled for hundreds each week, and all the other problems but, because the media are concentrating on other news items, the suffering of patients and the needless deaths are overlooked by the powers that be and the spiral continues downwards. It was interesting to hear the Minister in the Dail tell us that he cannot live thinking about the suffering and the danger facing those women who need an abortion. Can he also apply the same argument to the massive numbers of patients whose lives are in danger and in pain because of the long wait to get an appointment, then to get treatment, and then to be pushed into overcrowded A & E’s and Wards to be treated by overstressed and over worked medical staff, who have not got sufficient resources to do their jobs properly. How can he live, how can he bear it, when citizens of this country are dying needlessly and/or being put through hell when sick, in pain and needing medical assistance and needing him to do something for them before they die needlessly. So – Lets tackle the problems together, let’s see what can be done and who can do it. Let’s make life more bearable for patients and give them a better chance of survival.