Dying to get home. It’s no fun getting stranded especially when you’re on your own. Just imagine it…

You’ve spent an exhausting day anxiously waiting for news. It seems no-one can tell you how long the wait will be. You try to pass the time by reading but the constant level of activity around you, makes it impossible to concentrate. Each time you visit the toilet, you risk losing the cramped space you’ve made your own.

Night time comes but there’s no prospect of getting any rest. Sleep is impossible in the noisy, brightly lit environment. You lie there exhausted hoping that tomorrow will be a better day.

Yes, I did feel sorry for all those people stranded in airports last week but not half as sorry as I feel for the many patients stranded every day in our overcrowded emergency departments while awaiting a hospital bed.

Four years have passed since our Health Minister, Mary Harney declared A&E overcrowding a national emergency yet still the number of patients on hospital trolleys continues to reach record highs.

7 Responses to Stranded

  1. Grannymar says:

    If you had a change of Health Minister tomorrow, where would they get the money to sort the HSE? There seems to be no money for anything! Ireland was flush for a number of years with everyone spending like there was no tomorrow. Who put money away for the rainy day?

  2. Steph says:

    Grannymar – For the first time in the history of the State, all the opposition parties (including the Greens) and most recently, the Irish Medical Organisation are in support of a universal (single-tier) system of healthcare where access is equitable and based on medical need, not income. Only Fianna Fail and Mary Harney support a 2-tier health service.

    Fine Gael are proposing a ‘FairCare’ policy which will be funded by a form of compulsory private health insurance and will be subsidised by the government according to ability to pay.

    Labour were the first to propose a Social Health Insurance (SHI) model.

    Sinn Fein are advocating a universal, tax funded system.

    It is extremely heartening to finally see a consensus gathering around a system of universal health insurance, albeit funded in different ways.

    Roll-on the next election.

  3. Annb says:

    That’s a really good analogy Steph – the airwaves went mad with tales of torture never before seen on an Algarve golfing holiday all the while people were still languishing on trolleys in A&E depts. around the country. My sister remarked of her ordeal that she got some insight into what it must be like to be a refugee – not being able to either return or go on just stranded in limbo and being treated like an animal. I think that cloud of ash may have given us much food for thought on how we live our lives – if only we had the appetite to digest it!

  4. jenny says:

    well put Steph, we have become a nation where getting stranded in tenerife is considered a crisis, all the while forgetting about those that are the most vulnerable in society. The way in which are airwaves have been inundated with “crises” reflects our society and in many ways our changing values.
    love the way in which you approached this topic, unique and insightful!
    Another great read, and food for thought.

  5. Steph says:

    Annb and Jenny – Can I take a bow? 😉 But if I do, you both should too!

    Like you, I’ve been listening to all these tales of woe of people stranded in airports when every day of the week, Irish citizens must endure similar conditions in emergency departments all around the country.

    Overcrowding in A&E results in unmet basic human needs, a lack of dignity and distress for patients. Research has shown that patients detained in emergency departments beyond the time of decision to admit, is associated with additional patient mortality and morbidity.

    This is a sufficient enough public health issue to require a much greater response than has been the case to date.

  6. Baino says:

    Exceptional analogy. I wonder if all those stranded tourists see it . .what a luxury to have your holiday extended . .not so to have your surgery delayed!

    If they can afford a multi million package to help bail out Greece,you’d think they could afford half of that to fix the HSE. Kev Rudd has just taken funding for state hospitals back to the state. States will relinquish their VAT (we call it Goods and Services Tax = GST) to the Feds who will set up local hospital teams and administrators and cut out the state management which seems to have been the cause of so many issues. Time will tell.

  7. Steph says:

    Baino – Thank you! Some of my own experiences in A&E make being stranded in an airport seem like luxury by comparison.

    You’d wonder wouldn’t you? Health spending in Ireland has increased by approx €10 billion since the present government came into office and look at the state our health service is in! Unless/until major reform is implemented, it will continue to be a bottomless pit.

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