Health services – the grass isn’t always greener on the other side

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By Cormac Lucey

Why can’t Ireland’s HSE operate as effectively and efficiently as the National Health Service (NHS) does in the UK? Last year the Social Democrat TD Róisín Shortall made a formal proposal “to build an Irish national health service — a publicly funded health service that would be accessible to all, improve health outcomes and reduce the cost to deliver high quality healthcare”.

Yet is this love affair with the NHS a case of the yonder grass always being greener?

I was struck by an item in The Irish News last week ,headlined: “Top Co Down doctor threatens to quit stretched NHS if hard Brexit imposed.” It reported that a consultant said a cross-border stint in a Monaghan hospital — “where it works like clockwork” — had led him to reassess his future”. This was a rare specimen, an article accusing the HSE of competence.

Dr Peter Maguire is a consultant anaesthetist, based at Daisy Hill hospital in Newry. Dr Maguire, who availed of an EU cross-border scheme to work part-time in a Monaghan hospital, said it was therapeutic to work in the Republic, where doctors could more easily access the best drugs to treat patients undergoing surgery.

A satisfied medic? To paraphrase Basil Fawlty, we should have him stuffed.

Published in The Sunday Times (Irish edition)

July 23rd 2017

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