Uncomfortable views on HSE cuts from Athy councillor

Dear Editor

Dear Editor

I FEEL the need to highlight my personal, very uncomfortable, views on the HSE cuts that can surely do the opposite of keeping the nation healthy.

I, as you may not know, work in the HSE and see on at first hand the daily struggle for the nursing staff and administration with what can only be described as tides of sick patients looking for help.

To be a witness to the scores of phone calls from patients looking for advice and seeing staff working hours past their finish time to answer these and other queries is a side of the HSE that the Goverment and media don’t ever portray.

I know of the frustrations in other hospitals from directors of nursing (the top of the hospital) who will be dragged in front of superiors for looking for agency workers to make their ward areas stay open, not alone keep safe.

I see at first hand people becoming completely disillusioned and burnt out from the stress of the days when they know there will be no staff and no help, so no lunch break and forget about trying to go home at your time off, it could be an hour or an hour and a half later.

Does anyone know a creche or a babysitter that’s this flexible?

That’s the staff side of the struggle and, Editor, it’s something that I feel is not heard often.

The cuts to home help are something that also has particular interest to me, as my own extended family had the home help for my deceased grand father Peter.

To put this mildly this is first hand care in the community that is so badly needed for primary intervention and interaction.

The cutting of these hours and the absolutely ridiculous service offered in some parts must be completely wrong.

Home help supervisors in some parts of the country say that a phone call is offering the service to these people without a visit, are they serious.

It’s not the bloody outback.

When did things start getting so bad, if there has to be cuts I could,as others could , see where they could be made.

The proposed cuts are being revealed at a time when the Minister has done little or nothing on the consultant salaries or drug costs.

Only this week I was told by a staff member that a retiring consultant will receive another year’s pay while retired on top of his pension.

Which would be easily five of my years pay going at my annual rate of pay 28,540 euros.

The home help and other cuts are vehemently opposed by the likes of the director of the careers association

“It’s going to put pressure on members of the family who are looking after somebody who is ill at home. It will also lead to earlier admissions to nursing homes as people at home with reduced support will not be able to cope.

It is going to lead to longer stays in acute hospitals for people whose families simply aren’t able to take them out earlier...and it’s going to lead to an explosion in queues in emergency departments,” said John Dunne, acting chief executive of the Carers Association.

Dr John Ball, a spokesman for the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP), also criticised the Government’s decision to cut home-help and home care services.

“It really is staggering because it is in everyone’s interest that patients stay at home.

“It obviously preserves the dignity of the patients themselves (and) the family carers involved.

“It also seems economically not to make sense because if patients don’t get this back-up care, the risks of falls increases and they end up in A&E.

If cuts have to be made then be aware Dr Reilly that staff in particular won’t continue to work in these types of pressures.

It’s not safe and good for their health. I honestly think that you have been brought to task by Germany and no matter how cruel you may need to be, there are other ways to make the business of health care more economical.

Some simple ways that come to mind are: Throughout the hospitals in the country there is no consensus (all using different costly programs)on software such as hospital X-ray and others costing millions, not only in the sending of hard copy disks and photos.

Stop recruiting abroad immediately and employ our young nurses who are being trained in our hospitals.

How can we train people for four years then say there are no jobs unless they are willing to take ad hoc hours from agencies, which will be soon gone it seems.

As a Labour Party councillor and working in a Dublin hospital, I feel that people like myself who can speak up should all speak up and tell the Minister now you are effecting the old, vulnerable and families that are at their pin and the collar.

Do your job, tackle drugs costs and the use of public beds by your comrades, the consultants.

This time it’s sore and the announcement last Thursday shows how far this particular Minister is from

the ordinary hospital and primary care setting.

Yours sincerely,

Cllr Thomas Redmond


Working in a Dublin hospital