Whatever savings and cutbacks are having to be made in these harsher economic times, curtailments in the treatment of sick children are not something that most of us are prepared to tolerate. As the HSE continues to push for efficiencies in the public system, many children in this country are being denied treatment and more and more problems are arising in terms of patient care.
Our hospital system is breaking down as the basics simply aren’t happening. The embargo on staff recruitment has resulted in operating lists (elective surgery) being cancelled without warning, out-patient appointments being cancelled and phones not being answered in many departments. Frontline staff are fed-up and disillusioned and many of the consultants are no longer advocating for their patients. The bottom line is… patients are suffering and it seems that even sick children, don’t count anymore.
If you think I’m exaggerating, have a listen to this interview with Professor Michael O’Keeffe, Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon in Temple Street Hospital (a children’s hospital in Dublin). Thankfully, he’s not afraid to speak out.
Interview Credit: ‘Today with Pat Kenny’ on RTE Radio 1.
Photo: Steph’s theatre gown, captured on mobile phone.
You know my feelings on this as we are regularly on the receiving end of these cuts. What bothers me is the ‘lets march on’ attitude towards spending over 600 million Euro on the new children’s hospital towards some kind of shiny future dream for many of those children languishing on lengthy waiting lists. What the HSE fails to remember is that these kids only have one childhood – and it’s happening now – not some time in the future – which, sadly for some, may never become a reality due to lack of care today. The politics of Paediatric care are quite shocking.
Ann – Michael O’Keeffe sure doesn’t mince his words and I really respect him for the stance he’s taken on speaking out about the politics going on in Temple St.
I take your point re kids only having one childhood.
My daughter was 3 when she first started attending Temple St hospital with kidney problems and was admitted to the hospital about 10 times for treatment, over a period of approx 8 years. During that time, we were regularly told that the “new” hospital would soon be built and that it would represent a new era in caring for sick children.
My daughter is now 20 years old and the design for the new hospital still hasn’t even been approved for planning permission!
The prospect of the new hospital seems to be used as a pacifier for children and parents – some sort of ‘excuse the state we’re in now but very soon we’ll have a brand new hospital’. It’s very scary – Michael O’Keffe is absolutely right in what he says – Gerry Robinson said the very same when he did that show for the BBC “Can Gerry Save The NHS?” The managers should be on the floor asking why lists are cancelled and why phones are not being answered – no one is accountable.
Ann – I’m a big fan of Gerry Robinson. He’s a rock of sense.
Here’s a link to his interview with Marian Finucane last year…
[audio src="http://www.rte.ie/podcasts/2009/pc/pod-v-050909-33m58s-mariangerry.mp3" /]