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Waiting Lists

It is so frustrating and makes me very annoyed that the Health Service has plummeted to such a low spot that so many children are suffering so much and once again we were being fooled by the numbers on the Waiting Lists which were being given to us. I do not blame the nurses and front line staff, who can only do so much but our politicians over the past 20 years have allowed this situation to arise. Our politicians are supposed to represent us but what have they been doing when they have allowed children to suffer, sick people to wait, and sick people to die, who should not have died.

When we were trying to save the services in Monaghan General Hospital they would not listen to reason and we forecast bedlam if they proceeded with their plans to reduce staffing levels, close beds, stop recruitment of nursing staff and doctors, employ more and more pen pushers, promote people to posts they were unable to carry out, make patients travel miles to get to a hospital in times of emergency, make access to services depend on where you lived and how much money you had.

All the time money was being channelled into the areas which had the loudest voice. Cancer care was centralised and millions poured into cancer facilities. When one area of our health services came into the public eye through the media, the money was switched to that area to get the media off their backs. Then a problem arose in a different area and the money followed the crisis and the problems got bigger and bigger and more and more of them. Trolleys in corridors was eased by cancelling elective surgery and those waiting lists began to grow. GP services were underfunded and overworked and only open 9 to 5 Monday to Friday and people began to realise that by presenting directly at A & E you were seen earlier and so they crowded in, thereby increasing the crowding problem. A waiting list was tackled by saving money on one service to ease another but it was only transferring the problem – moving the deck chairs about. More and more management systems were introduced requiring more and more managers and there were no problems finding the funds to do so. Our Health Services are run on a system which might have worked back in the 1950’s but it has not progressed since then. New methods of management or achieving targets could not be introduced as no one seemed to know how to do it. Money was spent on review after review and it was the answer to every problem – we will have a review and then act on the results but the results always ended on the shelf.

Did they ever ask why Irish Nurses will not want to stay at home, did they ask why Irish doctors are going abroad and not coming back, did they ask why the waiting lists are growing, did they ask where all our money is being spent or is it wasted? If they did find the answers to any of these questions and take action immediately to change it then they will begin to reform the Health Services. Every Health Minister of the past 20 years fed us promises but never achieved what they promised and we must ask – why. Who stopped them, who thwarted their efforts to reform? We the tax payers need answers and we need action. Promises are no longer acceptable, ten year plans will not satisfy, reviews are not needed, more money cannot be poured into the existing black hole. We the people should not have stood idly by while we allowed our services sink to the atrocious pit we saw on TV last night. We must all share the responsibility for that by our inaction but we must also accept the responsibility of making it right by putting the right people in the right place.

The new Childrens’ Hospital is another typical example of poor management. First it was to be at the Mater where it was clear that it was not suitable and then St. James has been selected. They have a lovely animated video to let us see the great hospital when finished. Not a car can be seen anywhere near the hospital – will they ban all cars from the vicinity of the hospital. There will be expensive parking for those who can afford it but everyone else will have to walk a long distance from a parking place and return to find their car clamped as it is impossible to forecast how long one will be in the hospital. They do show the Dart running past the front door of the hospital – lovely – hop on to the dart somewhere with your sick and vomiting child to get to the hospital!! What is the nearest Dart Station for people from Monaghan? This hospital at St. James was to cost €650 million but now the price has gone up to €1.9billion and will not finish there guaranteed. Financial experts tell us that that is a very generous figure for what we are getting. What services will they cut to be able to channel the money into this white elephant? Again we must accept some of the blame for allowing this to happen.

 

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