The RTE Prime Time Investigates crew were at it again last night (Monday 9.30pm, Feb. 22nd, 2016), angering the country in their expose on the overcrowding crisis in Irish hospitals.
The deplorable conditions and tragic human stories were an appropriate segue to Claire Byrne’s live studio debate on Ireland’s Health Service complete with a fired up audience and panel.
Leo Varadkar was uncharacteristically quiet, possibly still reeling from visibly cringing at Enda’s squealing attempt at rabble rousing in Mayo on Sunday. A multi-faceted approach and no one solution to the mess that is our national health service resonated with most of the panel with a defeated Leo saying something along the lines of if you were to build a health service from scratch, you wouldn’t build it this way.
Meanwhile, Labour’s Kathleen Lynch is adamant the free GP cards for under 6s are going to miraculously cure the hospital crisis. We all know that our A&E departments are overrun by toddlers and their harried dual income parents who can’t afford to take them to the GP before it’s too late.
Depite two heart attacks, Sinn Féin’s Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin announced that he did not have private health insurance which woke up Varadkar to give him a dig about offsetting the cost of the premium towards first class flights to the US for gold standard treatment.
Man of the match was probably Fianna Fáil’s Billy Kelleher who rather richly, given his party’s previous form, urged the panel to stop lying through their teeth with election promises they knew they couldn’t deliver.
The Claire Byrne Live/Amárach Research poll found that 55% would favour greater spending in health and would give up the tax cuts being promised by almost all the main political parties in order to facilitate it, 34% would not forgo tax cuts while 11% don’t know.
In terms of research, there wasn’t a suitable ‘not applicable’ response option for me. There wasn’t a ‘forgo cuts if system is reformed’ option.
The real losers of the big debate on health is of course, us the public.
Dear Next Minister for Health,
I know you didn’t design the current health service which is dysfunctional, wasteful and badly managed by people not held accountable while simultaneously strangled by unions and workers more interested in what they can get rather than give. I also know there are thousands of frontline staff under enormous stress and unable to perform their duties under the weight of a top-heavy hierarchical structure. I know you didn’t design that heath service but could you pretend it doesn’t exist and start from scratch and design a better one? Could you work out what and who you need to get the health service we all deserve and get all parties on board, independent of power, to ensure long term planning rather than restricting plans to one or two terms of office?
In business we say ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’, equally if it is broke, it must be fixed or there simply is no ‘it’ anymore.
With all the talk about whinging in the media all week, it’s time to practice some of those mental health truisms ‘yourmentalhealth’ throws around the media about positivity and being proactive, and start doing something about our deranged health service, today!