Healthcare – ignoring the warning signs

Public and private services are being stretched

Sir, – With the recent budgetary announcement of 430,000 additional patients being extended free GP care, without a sufficient plan to resource the already stretched primary care service, one can only deduce that the Government has consciously chosen to ignore the warning signs repeatedly raised by those working at the coalface. The age-old governmental excuse of the “law of unintended consequences” will not apply here.

Perhaps concentrating on the fundamentals of running the service whereby there is, at the very least, timely access to adequate resources and appropriate staffing levels before engaging in party political giveaways. This will no doubt increase the queue between patient and service, creating a breeding ground for waiting lists in our communities akin to what is happening in our hospital service. It can be argued that any step towards universal healthcare is a good thing, but what good is a free coupon if the user cannot redeem it? – Yours, etc,


Dublin 15.


Sir, – It is now evident that individuals with private health insurance are also experiencing some access difficulties. Patients who require referral for specialist imaging tests are now having to wait for six weeks or longer for imaging tests that used to be carried out within one to two weeks.

This is because the HSE is now using taxpayer money to pay for patients on HSE waiting lists to have relevant imaging carried out by private imaging companies, thereby creating much longer waiting times for patients with private health insurance.

In some cases, the patient’s symptoms have resolved by the time they are called for their MRI four months later. For others, surgery procedures were required that may not have been needed if they were able to access the imaging service as easily as previously.

One could say that mismanagement within the HSE is now having an impact on people who try to avoid burdening the HSE by taking out private insurance.

Why is the HSE not using taxpayers’ money to run radiology departments for longer hours during the working week and the odd weekend day?

Does anyone really believe that this year’s record investment of €23.4 billion will suddenly result in the HSE running better? – Yours, etc,


Dublin 3.