Making Sláintecare work


Sir, – A letter writer (Letters, September 24th) alleges “Irish medical consultants are paid more and deliver less than European colleagues”.

This is a strong statement to make without citing an evidence source and without defining the output consultants are supposedly responsible to deliver. There seems to be a sense in Ireland that medical consultants are ultimately responsible for saving the HSE.

In reality, they have a very specific set of skills that are directed towards treating patients, and it is layers of administration, poor technology and infrastructure, and bureaucracy that often impede this endeavour. It can also be very difficult to compare consultant salaries between nations, given discrepancies in how medical specialists are defined and variations in tax brackets and deductions such as USC, etc. The OECD 2020 Health Workforce Report is the most recent data we have but it is not perfect. – Yours, etc,



Sir, – In a wearily familiar narrative, Cormac O’Carroll (Letters, September 24th) is content to lay the failure to implement Sláintecare squarely at the feet of a single party, paraphrasing former US president Bill Clinton: “It’s the consultants, stupid.”

Healthcare is complicated and will continue to defy simplistic, populist solutions. Even Donald Trump managed to figure that out eventually.

– Yours, etc,


Rathgar, Dublin 6.

Sir, – With great and genuine respect to Fr Peter McVerry (Letters, September 24th), I disagree with his assertion that those with health insurance “will not give up this privileged access voluntarily”.

I believe many, like myself, are deeply uncomfortable in availing of a two-tier, inequitable health system. Our only (reasonable) demand is that the public health service would be functional before we abandon these hugely expensive private insurance counter-measures.

– Yours, etc,


Kells, Co Meath.

Sir, – Very excited to hear of the plan under Sláintecaire to reintroduce new regional health boards.

I’ve thought of some new names and all! The Midland Health Board, the Southern Health Board, the Western Health Board, etc. Any takers?

– Yours, etc,


Mount Merrion, Co Dublin.