I turned on the news this evening to hear that 909 patients around the country are waiting to have a colonoscopy and some of those people have been waiting for more than two years. In December, our Minister for Health told the HSE to comply with a target of access to a colonoscopy within four weeks of being referred by a doctor. I had a private consultation with a gastroenterologist this afternoon and have been booked for an urgent colonoscopy next Monday morning. This sadly, is the difference between public and private health care.
Unfortunately, the antibiotic I’ve been on for the past 8 days (Vancomycin), has failed to bring a nasty colitis under control. After almost six weeks of worsening symptoms, I’m in real need of help. While this means having to go through a dreaded colonoscopy again, right now that seems like a doddle compared to my present circumstances. The diagnosis is most likely to be an antibiotic-associated colitis caused by the ongoing treatment for the chronic infection in my head. However, biopsies are required to confirm this and also to rule-out other possible causes, such as Crohn’s Disease.
While queueing to see the doctor today, I received a call from another doctor’s office. The surgeon in the UK has requested a CT scan of my skull before I travel to Nottingham for a review consultation. My surgeon in Ireland has organised the scan for tomorrow and I will travel to the UK in a couple of week’s time to receive the verdict. It’s certainly been all go today.
The reason I’m able to access prompt medical care for my health problems, is simply because I hold private health insurance. The policy is a huge burden on our family budget each year but I cannot afford to be without it. The delay in accessing investigations in our public health service, is costing lives. It seems that little has changed since the untimely death of Susie Long who succeeded in highlighting the inequities in the system. The Irish Cancer Society has described the waiting times as unacceptable. I’d describe the situation as scandalous and it’s time the HSE was held accountable.