Health Crisis

As well as a housing crisis, we now have a health crisis. And the government just sits on the €5.2 billion surplus they got from corporate tax dodging.

In December, nearly 12,000 people were admitted to hospitals without a bed. The numbers on trolleys will rise in January due to particularly severe respiratory illnesses.

Throughout the last year, 121,000 patients went without a bed in Irish hospitals – 27,000 of them were children.

This level of overcrowding is especially dangerous as there are many highly transmissible viruses and infections.

The government’s attitude is to normalise this crisis. Every new year we are supposed to just accept there will be a hospital crisis. Hospital staff are just supposed to put up with this chaos.

But there are solutions.

First, the private hospital sector should be nationalised and integrated into the public system. These are often built on the same grounds as public hospitals because one former right-wing health Minister, Mary Harney, came up with a mad scheme for ‘co-location’.

Second, we need to develop a system of preventative medicine whereby people can access regular medical checkups to reduce hospital admissions. This primary care system should be fully part of the public system.

Lastly, we need to pay health staff decent wages and, by investing in the service, provide them with good working conditions. Far too many nurses are leaving Ireland each year simply because they cannot tolerate pay levels that do not match increases in rent and house prices. Nurses in the NHS in Britain have taken strike action to win better pay AND help save the NHS.

Maybe that is an example to look at here.