As most of us are aware, our health service here in Ireland is in desperate need of a revamp. In the wake of a recession government cutbacks hit the most fundamentally important sector, and they hit it hard. The slashing of funds for our nations hospitals have left the sick in a much more vulnerable position than they ever were before. But not worry, if you’re sick and you happen to have a bit of wealth about you, have no fear. You will be looked after ahead of all of those left sitting in waiting rooms or lying on trolleys.
Unfortunately last weekend my dad had a bit of a health scare, he was taken to hospital for treatment for persistent chest pain that we feared may have been cardiac related. His experience in A&E and the overall treatment he received prompted him to write a heated letter of complaint. I want to share this letter to make people more aware of the shocking conditions that go on behind the doors of our hospitals.
We hear about it all the time, but it’s only when we experience it first hand that we know the true extent. Both my mother and sister work in the health care sector as a nurse and a HCA, if not for these dedicated and passionate staff members our hospitals would be in an even worse state.
Here is my dads letter in his own words:
To whom it may concern,
I am taking this opportunity to draft this letter of complaint with reference to the current state of our hospitals A&E departments, having had first hand experience of it in James Connolly memorial hospital Blanchardstown, on Saturday 28th of April 2013. I am presuming that this letter will probably end up in the waste paper basket, however I have decided to do my bit and maybe thousands more will follow suit.
On the date mentioned, after receiving chest pains which radiated up into my shoulder, I became very worried. On the advice of my daughter who is a nurse, a care doc was called and it was subsequently arranged for me to be taken from Johnstown House Hotel in Enfield Co. Meath by ambulance to Blanchardstown Dublin. I have full praise and respect for the paramedics who arrived in a very short space of time from when they were first contacted. They carried out all of the necessary checks to alleviate my fears that it was not cardiac on the scene.
However, they did still advise me to attend A&E. If I had known what I was about to face into, I would have jumped out of the ambulance there and then. I arrived in Blanchardstown Hospital at approx 10.15pm. I was assessed by the triage nurse and obviously found to be a non-risk patient. That is where the nightmare began.
I was put into the waiting room and preceded to wait almost 8 hours to see one of the two doctors that weere on call, and a further hour and a half before I was free to go. Whilst waiting to be seen there were one or two other patients who were visibly in severe pain, also waiting to see one of the two doctors. Both of whom had to ask for painkillers for some form of relief. If I hadn’t been waiting for so long myself I would have volunteered my place, because the thought did cross my mind. The patient before me had to be woken up as he was there for ten hours. I hope I do not have to go through A+E again in the near future if so god forbid, I will be bringing a sleeping bag and a pillow.
When I finally got through the magic door, I witnessed even more chaos. Almost every bed was occupied. This is completely unfair on the medical staff on duty, and we all know it’s because of government and HSE cut backs. Most infuriating of all is that if you’re like me and do not have a medical card or health insurance, you are expected to pay €100 for this treatment.
I think it’s time that the ordinary citizens of this country are treated with a lot more humanity and respect. Maybe a few politicians and high ranking HSE associates should experience what the patients in James Connolly Memorial Hospital’s A&E department experienced, on the night of Saturday the 27/4/13 right through to the early hours of Sunday 28/4/13. Maybe then our hospitals will undergo the complete overhaul they so desperately need, sooner rather than later.
Mr. Thomas Keogh
P.S Modern day Ireland 2013: The rich get richer and live longer, the poor get poorer and die sooner.