What do the cuts mean to those in need of healthcare?
Yesterday was the deadline for those retiring from the public service. This will mean an already exacerbated healthcare service faces further strain, as many nurses hang up their uniforms. In 2012, the HSE aims to tighten their budget by 22 million. This means longer waiting lists, and more bed closures. These developments are chilling to hear about, but what do the cuts mean to a patient in need?
The 29th of February saw a record number of 443 people awaiting treatment on trollies in emergency departments nationwide. The Cork University Hospital is in crisis. The patients are spilling out of the A&E, and are now in corridors and some in beds at a coffee dock. This hardly affords patients much privacy. Furthermore, how do you get the attention of a nurse when you are almost in the car park? The hospital is set to lose a further 30 beds, which will no doubt exhaust resources even further.
I suffer from an autoimmune disease, which makes me reliant on good healthcare. Last night, I booked myself in with Southdoc after I was presented with a worrying symptom. The doctor sighed and paced the floor, searching for the best answer. He wanted to prescribe something, but felt it was better to be seen by my specialist, as he didn’t know my history. It was concerning that this doctor felt I needed to be admitted, but given my medical state- sitting all night on a chair would do me more harm than good. He became so contrite as he advised the best course of action was to take painkillers, sleep, and contact my specialist in the morning.
I chewed my lip, waiting for a doctor to return my calls today. It is not any doctor’s fault for this silence; they are overworked and often just as helpless as their patients are when it comes to waiting times. This doesn’t quell the pain, or fear as I wait for a scan, that was deemed as urgent when the doctor ordered it in January. The consultant has rung three more times on my behalf, and can’t even get them to pin down a date. Now I am faced with a worsening of my condition, and still waiting. There comes a point when you stop believing anyone can help at all, and you are suffering in silence.
Tomorrow I will ring my GP, but I can’t afford to go get checked out as my Medical Card expired today. The HSE have not yet issued the new one. I am unsure what I will do if I need any new medicines meanwhile,
It is understandable for the government to order cuts, when they look at a figure on paper that is above what they can afford. The bottom line, however, is there are lives at risk. There are more stories like this, and illnesses far worse awaiting diagnosis. Cuts to healthcare will cost a lot more than the money it will save.