Save our Health Service

March 4, 2009

A letter to the editor of the Irish Times, caught my attention the other day as it’s topic was the health service. I was very pleased to find that it’s content confirmed my views about the abuse of out-patient clinic appointments in our public hospitals. The contributor proposed some ideas to solve this problem, measures which would also help to reduce waiting lists and raise funds for hospital services.

The letter was headed “DNA and Hospital Waiting Lists”

save-our-health-service“Madam, – Sheila Gorman (February 19th) notes that last year St James’ Hospital had almost 25,000 “DNAs”. As she explains, a “DNA” is someone who did not attend the hospital for their appointment. They did not call to cancel or postpone and so the hospital’s time was lost.

In my own area of Pembroke-Rathmines, St Vincent’s Hospital had 26,878 “DNAs” last year.

Assuming similar figures for hospitals across the country, waiting lists could be cut dramatically by appealing to those who have made medical appointments which they no longer require to cancel their appointment. This would also help to ensure that those most in need of medical attention get it sooner.

In the UK, NHS dentists request a £20 deposit from patients booking an appointment. This is later refunded or discounted from the bill. If the patient does not attend,and fails to cancel in time, the dentist keeps the £20. A similar scheme for our hospitals would either reduce waiting lists by hundreds of thousands or raise millions of euro to provide better services.

Could this be a simple way to improve our own health service for medics and patients alike?”

Source: The Irish Times online.

There are probably lots of reasons why so many public patients do not attend for hospital appointments but I would say prime amongst them, is a lack of respect for our inefficient health service. I’m all for making our present health service more efficient but only if it results in improved patient care. The sooner we get a system of universal health insurance in place, the better.

For anyone interested, world-famous cancer specialist, Professor John Crown will address a Public Meeting in Blanchardstown tomorrow evening. The meeting, hosted by Deputy Joan Burton of the Labour Party, will deal with issues relating to the future of Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown and will facilitate questions by members of the public.

Where? St. Brigid’s Community Centre, Blanchardstown
When? Thursday 5th March 2009 at 8pm

Prof. Crown will address the meeting on the importance of introducing universal health insurance to put an end to our 2-tier health system.

The Silent Killer

March 4, 2009

Last Christmas morning, the Hughes family from Co Mayo suffered the most terrible of tragedies. Padraig Hughes (20) died in his sleep from inhaling toxic carbon monoxide fumes from a leaking gas boiler.  His twin sister, Emma, narrowly survived.

“IT would be hard for any parent to imagine a more hellish Christmas morning – going to wake your precious children and not being able to. Slowly realising they are in serious trouble. Being unable to make contact with the emergency services. And it dawning on you – too late – that a €60 alarm could have prevented the whole tragedy.”

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is highly dangerous. You can’t see it or smell it. In fact it is often called “the silent killer”. It is thought to be responsible for about 40 deaths in Ireland each year. CO leaks can happen in any home or enclosed space, at any time. It is one of the bitter ironies of our modern age that the practices and products we use to make our lives more comfortable, often pose a potential risk to our basic health and safety. We go to great lengths to insulate our homes in an effort to increase energy and heating efficiency but, while making our dwellings cosier, we are also making it difficult for fresh air to enter and for carbon monoxide to be vented properly. There is no law In Ireland for domestic dwellings in relation to carbon monoxide.

Symptoms of CO poisoning are similar to those of cold or flu. They include headache, feeling sick, tiredness, and dizziness. Because of the similarity of the symptoms to other conditions, carbon monoxide poisoning is often missed.


Carbon Monoxide alarms can be used to provide a warning in the event of a dangerous build-up of CO but they are no substitute for regular inspection and maintenance of appliances, vents, flues and chimneys.

The Hughes family have launched a personal campaign for legislation surrounding carbon monoxide alarms. They want regulations put in place that will make fixed carbon monoxide alarms compulsory in buildings and believe people should be made as aware of them as they are of smoke alarms.

You can protect your home from the dangers of this deadly gas by taking preventive measures and by learning to recognise the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. Click here to find out more.

Source:  Tribune News and Carbon Monoxide.