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Posts Tagged ‘ Cutbacks ’

What do the cuts mean to those in need of healthcare?

Yesterday was the deadline for those retiring from the public service. This will mean an already exacerbated healthcare service faces further strain, as many nurses hang up their uniforms. In 2012, the HSE aims to tighten their budget by 22 million. This means longer waiting lists, and more bed closures. These developments are chilling to hear about, but what do the cuts mean to a patient in need?

The 29th of February saw a record number of 443 people awaiting treatment on trollies in emergency departments nationwide. The Cork University Hospital is in crisis. The patients are spilling out of the A&E, and are now in corridors and some in beds at a coffee dock. This hardly affords patients much privacy. Furthermore, how do you get the attention of a nurse when you are almost in the car park? The hospital is set to lose a further 30 beds, which will no doubt exhaust resources even further.

I suffer from an autoimmune disease, which makes me reliant on good healthcare.  Last night, I booked myself in with Southdoc after I was presented with a worrying symptom. The doctor sighed and paced the floor, searching for the best answer. He wanted to prescribe something, but felt it was better to be seen by my specialist, as he didn’t know my history. It was concerning that this doctor felt I needed to be admitted, but given my medical state- sitting all night on a chair would do me more harm than good. He became so contrite as he advised the best course of action was to take painkillers, sleep, and contact my specialist in the morning.

I chewed my lip, waiting for a doctor to return my calls today. It is not any doctor’s fault for this silence; they are overworked and often just as helpless as their patients are when it comes to waiting times. This doesn’t quell the pain, or fear as I wait for a scan, that was deemed as urgent when the doctor ordered it in January. The consultant has rung three more times on my behalf, and can’t even get them to pin down a date. Now I am faced with a worsening of my condition, and still waiting. There comes a point when you stop believing anyone can help at all, and you are suffering in silence.

Tomorrow I will ring my GP, but I can’t afford to go get checked out as my Medical Card expired today. The HSE have not yet issued the new one. I am unsure what I will do if I need any new medicines meanwhile,

It is understandable for the government to order cuts, when they look at a figure on paper that is above what they can afford. The bottom line, however, is there are lives at risk. There are more stories like this, and illnesses far worse awaiting diagnosis. Cuts to healthcare will cost a lot more than the money it will save.

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Once Again, the Many Bear the Burden of the Few

‘A Government of the people, by the people, for the people.’ These were the now iconic words spoken by Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg, nearly 150 years ago. An ideal we wish was still in use today.

The Irish cabinet has met, discussing changes which would see a drop of €8 in social welfare and €10 in child benefits. This drop has been casually referred to as only a pack of cigarettes. Such a description only serves to demean further the worst off in our society.

€8 less means one meal less. Less paid off a bill, a loan, a mortgage.  One commentator said, “That €8 is the difference between whether or not I can light the fire for next few days or whether or not I have the money to get the bus into town to go to my next hospital appointment or not.” There are undoubtedly those in Ireland today who live off the system as leeches, who see a life on social welfare as a desirable path. But today, with such job losses as Ireland has seen, more often than not the queues at the dole office each week are packed with fathers and mothers who have lost their jobs and can barely pay the rent, the mortgage, the ESB. And for what? For the continued payments to Europe, the ever increasing measures of austerity, ensuring the survival of the elite class, whose actions threatened that of those beneath them?

Madness has entered the country and our psyche. Wages and benefits are falling rapidly as prices rise. In the background, politicians like Mary Harney have the gall to feebly attempt to justify thousands of euro in salaries and pensions, for their ‘services to the country.’ Services which, when history has finished judging, will amount to little more than a paragraph of brown envelopes and evening soirees with bankers and builders. It’s really surprising that our streets aren’t filled with protestors, mobs baying for blood, the likes of which Paris and Cairo have and are continuing to see. What is it about our country that sees us take cutbacks and austerity measures with little more than a moan or a whimper, after which we roll over and accept, conceding that it may be hard, but sure isn’t it in the best interests of us all? Sure, the students come out in force every once in a while against the student fees. And yes, the Occupy Movement has taken root in Dublin’s Dame Street, slowly spreading across the country. But however noble their intentions, however justified they are, such efforts will never succeed.

I don’t condone violence. Violence, it has been said, is the recourse of the uncivilised man. I also don’t say that violence has never succeeded. The Easter Rising was not fought with placards and tents pitched across the city. Michael Collins did not wage the War of Independence camped out in front of Dublin Castle’s gates.

We can blame Europe. We can curse the names of Merkel and Sarkozy and the day they were born. We can even blast the IMF and those who seek our money and took our sovereignty. And we would be right too. It’s very cathartic. But really we need look no further than Dáil Éireann. Parties come and go, but as is our way, the ethos will never change. Change is never more than skin deep. Those in power will only do what they must to retain that power.

€8 is more than a pack of cigarettes. It’s an indication of where or who the government places value these days. It tells us once again who the government is willing to sacrifice in order to fix the mistakes they and their kind have made. History repeats itself. The sacrifices are forced upon the many by the few.

The 1916 Proclamation set in place the values upon which our country was built. The Republic, it stated, ‘declares its resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and of all its parts, cherishing all the children of the nation.’

Think about Ireland today. Does that ring true?

Not anymore.

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