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(en) Ireland, WSM anarchist journal - Workers Solidarity #100 - Indefensible Health Cut Backs

Date Fri, 21 Dec 2007 09:22:08 +0200

What an incredible week for the Irish Health Service! It seemed impossible that
it could get any worse and then it did. --- Wage increases were handed to the
top-brass while ordinary health workers and the public were faced with
cut-backs, lay-offs and recruitment freezes. It's clear that the politicians,
the powerful HSE bureaucracy and the hospital consultants will continue to look
out for each other while ordinary people suffer. --- Despite being responsible
for the Health Services Executive running a deficit of €245m, Brendan Drumm, the
CEO of the HSE, which runs the Irish Health System, was handed a bonus of
€80,000. Nice work if you can get it. --- If that wasn’t bad enough, the
handsomely paid consultants were offered a new contract that would see their
salary rise to €216,000 for a mere 39 hours work a week! Of course that wasn’t
enough for the consultants. They plan on rejecting this offer because they might
have to work the occasional night-shift – something many workers are well used
to without such perks.

At the same time, on Wednesday, 19th September the HSE announced that the
contracts of 30 agency nurses would not be renewed in Sligo General Hospital.
The statement made no reference to the impact on services of these cuts. Many
areas will be affected - clinics will not be held and waiting lists will grow.

Also on Wednesday, The Minister for (Ill-)Health, Mary Harney, confirmed that
Ennis General Hospital would lose its 24-hour Accident and Emergency service.
Instead a consultant-led A&E service will be available at the hospital with
limited hours of operation.

If that wasn’t enough, it was reported that maternity patients were being sent
to hotels because of a lack of beds in the hospital. What a waste of resources
and a lack of proper treatment for the patients. Is this what we pay taxes for?

This blatant contrast should wake us all up to the real reasons for the problems
in the Irish Health System. We need a country-wide campaign uniting patients and
health workers that demands system wide change. Patients groups and health
workers should reach out and build such a campaign with the aim of fundamental,
radical change. Only a united campaign that attacks the root cause of the
problems in the health service, namely the excessive power of consultants and
the HSE and the right-wing privatising agenda of Mary Harney and the government,
can deliver a health service that people in Ireland deserve.
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