Two-tier healthcare system


Sir, – While Jason Carty (Letters, November 15th) is correct to state that we spend a lot on the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF), the €75 million in question would not run our health system for this present weekend. Our health budget is about €45 million per day, on a 365-day basis.

Lamenting that the sum is “not being invested in the public health system” glosses over what poor value most of the €16 billion spend represents. The choice of allocating such resources to NTPF at least shows that the Government is aware of this unfortunate reality. – Yours, etc,



Co Cork.

Sir, – The “outrage” and “shame” voiced by UK politicians and NHS “leaders” regarding the NHS performance in October makes for interesting reading. We learn that October was the “worst month on record” for NHS emergency department waiting times – yet more than 80 per cent of patients attending emergency departments were seen, assessed, admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours! A total of 726 patients spent more than 12 hours on a trolley in the entire country in the month of October.

Similarly impressive figures are reported for diagnostic test access and 18-week non-urgent consultant-led treatments targets (also over 80 per cent achieved).

Given that Ireland spends almost 20 per cent more per capita on health, has more doctors (3.1 v 2.8 per 1,000 population) and significantly more nurses (12.2 v 7.8 per 1,000 population), one can only conclude that the Irish system, and Irish hospitals in particular, are much less efficient than in the UK.

Most patients in this country, I imagine, would be delighted to have such a “failing” healthcare system. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 6.