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

Online EditorCampaign, image, info

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