Sunday, May 10, 2009

HSE Cat Laughing?

I note the 'Cat Laughs' Festival is due to get underway in Kilkenny later on this month. I hope they have a good laugh - because someone in HSE HQ in Kilkenny (from where Waterford hospitals are managed) is having a laugh at our expense!
The HSE cannot have it both ways. It cannot use the HIQA (Health Information & Quality Authority) new standards for Nursing Homes to close beds and reduce the service in St. Patricks Hospital, while in the face of failing those standards required under the Cancer Strategy, as recently revealed, continuing to provide those services.
Those standards either have to me be met, or they don't. Two sets of standards being unmet, are dealt with in completely different ways. According to the HSE the failure to meet one set results with closure (of St. Bridgets ward). While the failure to meet the other (for Cancer Care) meets with more investment (questionable from where I'm standing but that's their claim nonetheless). Surely the Nursing Home standards should similarly illicit an investment response in order to meet them.
But of course, when there is money to be saved (despite a shocking lack of accountability in regard to the €50m lost as a result of the consultant contract) at the expense of the elderly and the future nineteen patients who might have been expected to fill those beds (from a waiting list of over 200 or so) at any one time, what does it matter. What does it matter if those high-dependency patients continue to occupy hopsital beds in acute wards; what does it matter if the type of care they require is not available in nursing homes - which are not equipped as geriatric hospitals such as St. Patricks.
I have said it hundreds of times that 'for profit' is not the correct motivation for any type of hospital care in my opinion. And the reduction in high dependency beds which the closure of St. Bridgets Ward will impose on the South East Region - in the face of nothing to replace them in the short, medium or long term, is unacceptable.
I, for one, am tired of the HSE's words, and talk, and promises. I simply do not believe or accept their word that a replacement 50 bed geriatric hospital in on the way. And even if it were, their demonstrated timescales for delivery of projects to date has been appaling. And for many elderly people, they simply do not have the luxury of time. How many will die earlier, or more uncomfortably than they otherwise might while the HSE gets its act together to deliver this unit? I would say hundreds.
And on Mr Brett, the gentleman on hunger strike up at St. Patricks. He is a brave man. A committed man and obviously, a frustrated one. He has had the courage to take action based on his beliefs. He is to be aplauded. However, his actions are not good for his own health and I worry about his mother and what him losing his health would do to her. (I am not aware of her condition.) The HSE are not worth the risk to him.
The HSE needs to be written off and consigned to the dustbin of history. It was tried. It didn't work (spectacularly). It added more beurocracy and no accountability. Anyone with any spine would send it to join the electronic Voting Machines - in extinction.

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