Judging Ireland by its healthcare system

 

Sir, – I note from Mark Hilliard’s article of April 14th that the Taoiseach feels we should not judge our health service on the basis of the number of patients on trolleys in emergency departments and patients on waiting lists for hospital appointments.

Ireland is rated 24th in Europe with regards to access to healthcare.

The reputational impact for Ireland of failing to address the insufficient capacity in the Irish health service, manifesting in admitted patients waiting in excess of 20 hours in the emergency departments of our centres of excellence and over 500,000 people on waiting lists for our hospitals is very significant.

The patients awaiting heart and lung procedures, arthritis care, joint replacements, spinal surgery, and emergency hospital admission certainly measure the health service by the duration of their wait to have their conditions dealt with.

I acknowledge that we do need to be proud of those things we do well in healthcare but the doctors of Ireland want our patients to have timely access to care and this can only happen when we have the necessary number of doctors, healthcare practitioners, acute hospital beds and step-down facilities.

That which you walk by is your standard, and for too long the governments of Ireland have walked by patients waiting for care.

With resources we can do more of what we can have pride in and we can help our doctors to provide more timely care to those in need. – Yours, etc,

Dr PEADAR GILLIGAN,

President,

Irish Medical Organisation,

IMO House,

Fitzwilliam Place,

Dublin 2.