Less Can Be More

I attended the sixth and final debate of the Pfizer Health Debates Series in association with the Irish Times. The series, which included six debates across Ireland in 2009, offered attendees an opportunity to hear important health issues being discussed in an open forum by leading commentators.The debates also provided an opportunity for audience engagement and open discussion.

The motion for the final debate was “This house believes that reduced health spending should not lead to poorer healthcare“. It transpired that the wording of the motion was somewhat misleading as both sides seemed to be in agreement that it isn’t about spending more money; it isn’t about cutbacks; it’s about spending more wisely. The motion was carried by a large majority.

These public debates have provided an opportunity for those attending to articulate perspectives and concerns through a question and answer session following each debate. They have been successful in raising awareness of the many wrongs in the Irish health system while also acknowledging the many good parts. At a time when the health service is facing cutbacks of over €1 billion, the positive message to take away from this debate is that money is not the sole factor in health. Better organisation will lead to better outcomes. Increased spending on healthcare does not necessarily lead to better results. Less can be more.

7 Responses to Less Can Be More

  1. Annb says:

    To have better organisation, you need better leadership, and that has been in shockingly short supply in the Irish Health Services for a very long time.

  2. Grannymar says:

    Were the debates well attended (numbers) and were there people there who could make a difference to the situation of the HSE?

  3. Baino says:

    So true, it’s the old work smarter not harder rule. Health has a lot of money thrown at it over here but doesn’t seem to be spent too wisely.

  4. Steph says:

    Ann – You’re on the ball, as always.

    They stated last night that although we have some of the best qualified staff in the world, we have no leadership. There is huge waste and inefficiency in our health service. A member of the audience proposed (1) that accountability is needed and (2) that we need an agreed all-party approach to health.

    Grannymar – Very good question! I attended 2 out of 6 of the debates (only ones held in Dublin) and they were each very well attended. Stephen McMahon, Chairman of the Irish Patients Association and Dr James Reilly, Spokesperson for Health (FG), took part in the final debate and there were many movers and shakers from the world of health and patient action groups etc. present in the audience. I signed in as Steph from The Biopsy Report!

  5. Steph says:

    Baino – Hiya! There’s far too much doom and gloom in this country at present, we need new strategies to move forward. The health budget is out of control and with better organisation, we’ll see much better outcomes. We badly need to restore pride in the health service.

  6. Rummuser says:

    Governments everywhere try to increase revenue by additional or new taxes. The bureaucracy which advises politicians, come up with very novel and innovative ideas to do so. I am yet to come across a government anywhere which would attempt to either cut expenses or increase productivity of the bureaucracy without additional taxation.

  7. Steph says:

    Rummuser – Our budget is due in less than 2 week’s time. It’s guaranteed to be really severe as the government’s budget deficit has ballooned out of control in the last year. It’s reckoned about 4 billion will be made in cuts and certain welfare benefits will be means tested. As you say, they’ll also find new ways to reform the tax system, to increase revenue. Cutbacks of 1.4 billion are expected in the health budget. There’s a very angry mood hanging over the country right now and it’s widely predicted that the government will fall following the budget. Our health service is crying out for new leadership so the sooner we ring out the old and ring in the new, the better!

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