The poor should be worried

Letter published in the Irish Times 19th February – The Harneyisation of Irish health continues.


GPs have received a letter from the consultants and nursing staff of the emergency department at Beaumont Hospital. The letter states:

“The [ emergency] department is in urgent need of an ultrasound machine which is required to speedily assess internal organ damage resulting from traffic accidents and knife trauma wounds.” And with commendable forbearance the letter observes: “It would be reasonable to assume that the machine would be a standard piece of A&E equipment.”

However, it appears there is no money for it. So the A&E staff are going on to the streets to beg for the money – €24,000 – to buy the machine. They hope to raise it through a golf classic or, for non-golfers, by a one-off donation of €100.

This is a scandal. A scandal for Bertie Ahern. A scandal for Mary Harney. A scandal for the HSE. A scandal for the Government. A scandal for the limp Opposition. And a scandal for the local politicians. Here is a major trauma centre in a national hospital having to get down on its knees to beg for basic equipment.

The poor should be worried. And so, may I say, should the rich. If you have a knife stuck between your shoulder-blades, it is no time to go flashing your Plan E card at the Gullawntha Medical Clinic with the oak tree in the atrium and three ladies playing the harp. You will be redirected to the public hospital and advised to have a nice day.

Repeatedly, general practitioners hear praise from patients for the staff at Beaumont A&E. They comment on the courtesy and care of the doctors, nurses and ancillary staff. And this in spite of the squalor and overcrowding provided by the Government.

The Harneyisation of the Irish medical scene is becoming more and more vivid. Wealth is further swelling the wallets of the wealthy. Mary Harney’s relocation system means that millions upon millions of euro are being relocated from the taxpayers’ pocket into the insatiable pockets of the earnestly rich.

Her plan is clear.The poor will please keep left and know their place. The richly insured will please head for the (very far) right.
Would Ms Harney please write a cheque today for €24,000 for that ultrasound machine in Beaumont? If she has difficulty in getting that sum together she might perhaps consult her friends who have special talents in the art of subtle acquisition.

Yours, etc,


Howth Road, Killester, Dublin 5.

One thought on “The poor should be worried”

  1. This letter is the most damning indictment of the ludicrous situation in the Health Service yet. The cost of the ultrasound unit is less that Bertie’s salary increase, but the hospital has to go begging. Shame on all of us.

Comments are closed.