Corridors Of Power


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From top: Fine Gael 2011 General Election literature and screengrabs of video footage from inside A&E units, filmed secretly by RTÉ News at the weekend and broadcast on Six One last night.

RTÉ visited Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, Beaumont Hospital in Dublin, Galway University Hospital and Cork University Hospital.

Yesterday, there were more than 600 people on trollies, the highest figure recorded in the history of the HSE, according to RTÉ.

RTÉ goes inside Ireland’s overcrowded emergency departments (RTÉ)


601 people-1

Where’s Leo?

Thanks Annie West

46 thoughts on “Corridors Of Power

  1. andyourpointiswhatexactly

    Leo’s on his hollibobs in America, isn’t he? He might as well enjoy it before he heads back into this sh*tstorm. He’ll have a massive case of the “not wanting to go back to work rats” on the flight back, I’d say.

    1. Soundings

      He’s probably waiting for a cold snap (accidents, falls, hypothermia etc), winter flu or norovirus which will add around 500-1,000 extraordinary admissions. Then, he can come back to the Cabinet and correctly claim, it’s all fecked up beyond recognition, give us more money.

  2. Medium Sized C

    Two things on this post.

    It is all over every news article that the A&E admissions system is under massive strain resulting in people being on trollies. Its everywhere. Why is RTE going “undercover” to tell us stuff we already know?

    What in the hell is Leo to do?
    Do we suddenly think that he has greater authority over the HSE than any previous minister since the HSE was set up?
    Or do we think he can just talk the problem away?
    Or are we looking for reassurance from the Minister for Health that the fupped up hospital system will get better?
    Cos none of those things are gonna be true any time soon.

    1. Drogg

      Well he could stop closing down regional hospitals A&E’s firstly, he could make it so nurses can discharge people which they are more then qualified to do so then you wouldn’t have people taking up beds who are ready to go home but need a doctor to be discharged.

      1. scottser

        you have to question a system whereby people have to go through A&E to be seen. there were hardly 600 accidents over the past few days, were there?

        1. Medium Sized C

          From what I hear its a combination of things.
          A lot of it is old people who can’t be discharged and have nowhere else to go.
          Which is a bit mad.

          Also Primary Care Centres are supposed to help with all this, but they aren’t done yet.

          1. scottser

            ..and the 2,000 odd beds that have been closed over the past 18 months, plus closing regional A&Es nationally. oh, and the cost of going to a GP, the cost of health insurance and reduction in medical card allocations all mean increased pressure on A&Es.

        1. Drogg

          Well they keep shutting down regional A&E’s cause they are running out of money cause they over pay consultants and have become over reliant on Agency Nurses which cost a lot more then Nurses and aren’t as committed to a facility. Also they won’t allow nurses to discharge people because of deals with the unions.

  3. Dubloony

    What ailments do all on trollies have? Is this a combination of winter and elderly people or has something else happened?
    Or are staff on their holiers and things just got backed up somewhere in the system?

      1. Dubloony

        Yes, I have been in public hospitals recently. I just am wondering what has caused this recent spike.
        As another poster mentioned below, GPs were unavailable over holiday period. So ill people may have ahd no other option but to go to A&E and that may be part of the problem.

        Also, A&E is only one part of the health service, there are other parts such as cancer treatment that I can’t praise highly enough.

        1. JimmytheHead

          Ok sorry, thought u were trolling. Spent 14 hours last xmas in A+E with my dad and saw first hand how hard the docs and nurses work just to give everyone some sort of treatment. Sickens me when people think its their fault and not the money grabbers on the management board

        2. Clampers Outside!

          It’s winter. There’s always a run on hospitals for the first two months after Christmas due to one large contributing factor, the weather.

          Over the past decade the government(s), both of them, reduced numbers of beds and PROMISED this loss would be made up by a new ‘Primary Care’ system (Reilly’s promise) which was never put in place, not even started, not even touched, nothing done, just bed numbers reduced and a shuffling of papers and fudging figures by Reilly.

          And so the whole thing has come to a crunch. People will die. And the pig of a man Reilly will get a fat pension.

  4. JimmytheHead

    Where are the people who defend austerity now? Seem to recall being lectured by several BS users on the importance of funding the banks and repairing our economy…. real important when youre struggling to breath in an overcrowded A+E waiting room

  5. Sam

    When I see those posters, I get most angry at the people who voted for that smug git, and the obviously untrue promise.

  6. Drogg

    I keep hearing from people who went to the Doctor on call over christmas and said basically the only thing they did was refer them to A&E and in many cases for things that don’t need to be treated in a hospital. There need to be better assessment and treatment outside of A&E departments to stop this flooding of facilities.

    1. Frilly Keane

      They should have let Professor Drumm implement and roll out Community Based Care plans. ( might have been referred to P treble C )

      Then you would have better bed management
      Then you will see better Trolley to Treatment to Discharge stats.

      But too many jobs worths and Union Agreements run our Healthcare

      1. Drogg

        But a doctor on call is supposed to be more then a GP and should be able to treat less serious things so as not to be sending people to A&E.

  7. Frilly Keane

    Oh grow up

    The Heath Service in Ireland fell asunder when Brian Cowen was its Minister

    Its only survived till now because of the size of its workforce and the churn of billions of yoyos into out of and around it.

    There isn’t a HSE hospital or Voluntary Hospital out there not ripping off the insurers. Or without extreme personnel issues.

    Take my advice
    Only seek professional medical treatment if you can afford it or if you have a medical card

    Otherwise. Look to Spain.

    1. droid

      The health service was gutted by Hughey and has never recovered, and its the insurers who are ripping off the public not the other way round.

      If the taxpayer stopped subsidising private healthcare and banned the use of public facilities by private patients tomorrow, insurance prices would sky rocket as the true cost of care would have to be borne privately instead of by the state in the obscenely unfair system that’s currently in place.

      1. Keith

        Isn’t that the point of attempting to roll out universal health insurance, followed by turning the hospitals into independent trusts?

        Some things that I like to think are facts but are really just my opinions (gleamed from conversations and de media as opposed to actually reading the mirad of reports available on the subject – something I wish all debates on the subject would be based on):

        Most people in hospitals do a good days work.
        Some don’t, completely game the system, and drive the rest of us nuts.
        It does seem to change peoples behavior when they effectively cannot be sacked. Its not like its easy to sack someone in the private sector but the difference appears to be the cause of higher absentee rates in the public sector.
        Why does a consultant in Ireland earn two or three what they earn in the UK?
        I’d feel pretty crappy if I wasn’t a “front-line” worker. A lot of the problems with the health service are process driven so effective administration has a place.
        I wouldn’t go to a regional hospital for anything serious. The doctors just aren’t at the same level as those in the major hospitals. That I suspect includes doctors are all levels. There are reports out there about how hospitals should be reconfigured based on this. I wish I read some of them.

        1. droid

          Universal health insurance may work, but its essentially privatisation by another name, and is completely unrealistic given the current financial state of most households.

          The HSE is top heavy. There needs to be radical reform, and its one area where I think the unions need to compromise. As John Crown said years ago – there are thousands of unnecessary managers in the HSE left over from the health boards. If they simply stayed home the service would be more efficient. It would make sense to just pay them off and get rid of them so the service can be rebuilt. There is no reason why we couldnt have a French style system for the money we spend.

          Alternatively, we could always ask Cuba to send us a few hundred doctors.

          1. Keith

            Well, I think its important to support the principle, rather than trash the specifics. Yes, the hospitals will be privatized to some extent, but that is no bad thing as it may have a positive effect on employee behavior. The principle of the government getting out of the business of healthcare and into the business of directly subsidizing its citizens healthcare, is I think, a good one.

            You might be right about the “thousands of unnecessary managers in the HSE”, and while citing Mr. Crown is better than a random statistic, I would wonder where he got the statistic from. Everyone has their point of view, and presumably the view of a consultant sees a lot of “non-front-line staff” as being unneccessary, but that doesn’t make it so.

            Btw, +1 on the Cuba option, I hear their doctors are great! Actually, in a perfect world, they would staff the D-Doc out-of-hours services around the country. My experience has been there is a *serious* drop-off in quality with GP’s after six o’clock, especially on the weekends.

          2. droid

            I disagree. I am more or less opposed to the principle. Let health be paid for by taxes, its worked for the NHS for decades. Privatisation and mass health care do not mix.

            Not sure of the exact numbers (8000 maybe?), but its common knowledge that the management staff hangover from the health boards has been a major problem in the HSE. What is clear is that centralised bureaucratic micro management is completely the wrong approach. TBH, Id be in favour of devolved local, worker run facilities in health care with light touch strategic and budgetary oversight. Some polemics from Crown here:

            Cuba’s medical system puts the rest of the world to shame. Just shows what a tiny country with no money under devastating sanctions can do when the will is there to do it.

  8. Kolmo

    A two-tier health system i.e. for profit vs society need seems to be dividing the talent and concentration – have either purely for profit US style (where illness or injury would bankrupt most people) or a pure tax-payer system where the requirements of a humane society is the primary consideration, both do not seem to work together in the same ‘market’.

  9. Niallo

    It’s not good enough to let this t1t simply walk away with a fat pension after promising one thing and delivering f, all.
    Not good enough.
    There must be a penalty, as a warning to the others.

    1. Kieran NYC

      So he’s to blame for arriving in power to a bankrupted country and not living up to promises he made in 2007?

      You should be penalised for not becoming a fireman like you said when you were seven too.

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