Paying the Price

Today, I came across an article at which lifted my spirits. It was refreshing to find such a well-balanced look at the multiple problems within our health service. Claire O’Reilly, a former nurse, spent a night in A&E last year because of complications following an angiogram. She has decided as long as she has the choice, never to return to an A&E department again. You can find Claire’s article here.

I was delighted to find another patient and former healthcare worker, who is prepared to stick her head above the parapet and ask pertinent questions about our health service. Claire blames the nurses, her own profession, for failing to speak out and take action about the conditions endured by patients. She believes that Mary Harney and Brendan Drumm are not listening to advice given and have forgotten about the patients in their determination to reform the system. She accuses them of constantly talking about the cost of running the health service and asks if they cannot see that it is the patients who are paying the ultimate price!

Patients are suffering and will continue to suffer as long as they remain silent. The time has come for everyone to join forces and make their voices heard. Please don’t wait until another scandal happens. Our new Taoiseach was installed yesterday. What better time to start?

8 Responses to Paying the Price

  1. Grannymar says:

    When little Joe Soap or Betty Bloggs begins work as a lowly Civil Servant they shadow someone for a week to learn the ropes and see how the land lies. Why not have the new Minister work on the coal face of the hospitals for a month, sleeves up and hands on covering all the work shifts and departments, that way they really find out their responsibilities.

  2. Steph says:

    GM – I reckon our Minister for Health would be lucky to make it through one day on her feet. She’s not called the Minister for Trolleys for nothing you know! 😉

  3. Baino says:

    Steph nurses here are speaking up but their words seem to fall on deaf ears. We even had a strike recently which is very unusual for nurses. Our hospital systems are financed by the Commonwealth but run by the states. Only if the Commonwealth takes over administration can I see things improving across the board. The bureaucracy is just too tangled. Although people present at A & E who should really be visiting their own doctor . . it’s no place for a sniffle.

  4. Steph says:

    Baino – You really would not believe how bad things are here. We had a huge nurses strike last year, at the moment the psychiatric nurses are refusing to work overtime and the general nurses organisation (INO) is about to ballot for another strike over pay. And that’s JUST the nurses!

    If all healthcare workers were to join together to protest (on behalf of patients) about the state of the health service, then their voices would be heard. Everybody’s had enough but there is no uniform response.

  5. You know, when medical facilities, universities and other institutions that are there to benefit the people, start to focus on cost, business and profit, then you know they’re going to fail horribly in serving those people. It is a sad indictment of today’s world that everything has to be about the bottom line and forget the relevance, the necessity of good healthcare, sound education etc. And it seems, it doesn’t matter how much nurses or teachers speak out, when the focus of the “bosses” is on profit, well, it’s like dealing with a mule. Perhaps if nurses, doctors and patients all took the streets, with the media on their side, a small revolution might be accomplished. Sometimes drastic action is needed.

  6. Steph says:

    AV – you’ve got it in one. Thanks!

    I don’t know how many more scandals will have to happen before people realise the time has come to stand up and be counted.

    The late Susie Long achieved so much by speaking out on behalf of all patients. She didn’t have time to wait as time was not on her side. If her lone voice was able to make such a huge impact, then imagine the power of lots of people working together. We owe it to Susie to continue her fight for justice in healthcare.

  7. Knipex says:


    The Nurses strike last year was nothing to do with patient care and all to do with money. They were asking for a 12.5% pay increase along with a 10% reduction in working hours (with no corresponding drop in pay).

    The nurses complain a lot about under staffing but the unions claimed that they could reduce to a 35 hour working week on a cost neutral basis. In other words they did not require extra nurses to cover those hours !!!

    Even now the PNA action has nothing to do with patient care.

    Its along time since nurses in Ireland put patient care over their wallets.

  8. Steph says:

    Knipex – well-said!

    The nurses would get much more support from the public for their pay claim if they put patients first and campaigned for a better health service for all.

    They need to get their priorities right. I left a similar comment over at the other day.

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