An Excerpt from the “Bitter Pill” or what is wrong with Ireland(RoI) Healthcare system.

Here is a excerpt from the “Bitter Pill” on what is wrong with Ireland’s Healthcare system. Verbatim

“The Two Tier System

No discussion of the Irish health system can take place without an examination of its foundations. It is built on the two -tier system of public and private healthcare. At the heart of this system is a blatant lie about choice, one that is propagated by the government and vested interests in a system that rewards private practice and penalises public patients . The two-tier system is the single greatest obstacle to improving the level of healthcare provided in the country. This is because it leaches off resources paid for by the taxpayer and gives little in return to the public, while providing incentives to neglect their public duties. As such it is a system that services no one other than those who profit from it, and it works fundamentally against the improvement of public health services. Yet as long as this system prevails, those who can afford to rightly feel they have little choice but to purchase private health insurance.

 

The Power of Consultants

The two-tier system, in turn must be understood in terms of the role of consultants and, more specifically the power they wield within the health service. Consultants are paid by the State to work a normal working day in their public capacity, but they retain complete discretion over when they choose to be in the hospital and when they chose to leave. Consultants who complain about having to work long hours often neglect to mention that many of those hours are spent looking after private patients to supplement their income. Considering  that the Irish taxpayer is paying salaries of upward €140 K * to these men and women, there is a major question to be asked about accountability.

It is a well- established and universally accepted fact that accountability is a key factor in achieving the standards of best medical practice.’Measuring practice’ and comparing it ‘against existing standards’ are key components in the audit cycle , the gold-standard for evaluating and improving medical practise. Yet in the ‘Medical Consultants Report’ , published in March 2007 by the Comptroller and Auditor General, it was found that no record is kept of how many hours consultants devote to public service as compared to private work, and that the prioritising of private patients is leading to a neglect of public care”

*Book was published in 2007

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