Illogical cuts could clog up system within weeks
So, we could very quickly see the entire health system gummed up to a level of severity never seen before. Throw in a winter with a potent influenza virus and a resulting increase in hospital admissions and we could easily face healthcare Armageddon.
The whole thrust of these cuts is so illogical as to beggar belief. It suggests that everyone involved, from the Minister down, simply doesn’t understand the basic mechanics of our health service. All of the suggested cuts are going to result in more people being decanted into hospitals while at the same time fewer will be fit for a safe discharge home. Both private and public hospitals will burst at the seams.
As well as flying in the face of our stated health policy to deliver more services in the community, these cuts also contradict the maxim that an appropriate balance between healthcare spending and social-support spending is crucial. Experts point to a threshold for useful spending on traditional healthcare delivery. In other words, if we develop the acute hospital sector at the expense of less technical, simpler (and cheaper) community care, overall population health will suffer.
Or, in the recent words of a Canadian expert: “A society that spends so much on healthcare that it cannot or will not spend adequately on other health-enhancing activities may actually be reducing the health of its population.”
Some observers have suggested the €130 million cuts package was put together in haste in order to placate an unhappy troika. Even if this was the case, it is an inept and illogical move that must be reversed. With 70 per cent of the health budget spent on salaries, the focus must now shift to this sector for savings.
Services have been cut to the bone: the time has come for those in senior positions in the health service to take a significant pay cut.