I then came home, flicked on the TV and got into bed. The first ad on the TV was from the Government telling people that bowel cancer can kill, but not if caught in time. If Bertie Ahern or Mary Harney or Michael McDowell were within reach I would have killed them. Literally, I’m not joking.
This quote is from a woman who is dying from cancer because she is a public rather than a private patient. If she had private health insurance she would have been treated in time but because she is a public patient she was put on a long waiting list, this delay has resulted in her cancer becoming terminal.
Her case has been passionately discussed on Liveline over the last number of days (Her letter to Liveline is on the site and is worth reading). The response from most callers was one of anger, frustration and powerlessness.
This is a normal reaction for citizens living in a corrupt state. They, and everybody else, are very well aware of what the problem is – corruption, incompetence and political cowardice. They know that the political system will not help them; they know that unless they pay up they will not get access to treatment.
On Questions and Answers, the Minister for Health, Mary Harney responded like politicians always do in corrupt states. She went into denial – It’s a great system, mistakes will happen, when they do, it’s someone else’s fault.
She blamed the victim’s doctor; she blamed hospital consultants and, incredibly, claimed that Ireland does not have a two tier health system. Harney leads a party that passionately believes in promoting private health care for profit over public health care for everybody.
There are, of course, many other reasons why Ireland has a third world health system. Recently, the Irish people agreed that it was ok for our Prime Minister to accept large payments from businessmen while he held public office.
For so long as Irish citizens accept such low standards from their politicians they will continue to get the same low standards in public services, with the same consequences