Saturday 21 October 2017

Terence Cosgrave: Sick health system needs radical surgery, not a financial band-aid

Patients have always come second, and the luckless poor fare even worse, in the health equation, says Terence Cosgrave

OPPOSITION: Student nurses protest outside the HSE headquarters against a proposed scheme to pay graduate nurses 20 per cent less than other nurses. While Irish healthcare workers are well remunerated by any standards, particularly those higher up the scale, there are still ghetto areas of pay, such as that of student nurses and junior hospital doctors
OPPOSITION: Student nurses protest outside the HSE headquarters against a proposed scheme to pay graduate nurses 20 per cent less than other nurses. While Irish healthcare workers are well remunerated by any standards, particularly those higher up the scale, there are still ghetto areas of pay, such as that of student nurses and junior hospital doctors

Terence Cosgrave

THERE has always been an element of mystery about medicine and most people in the medicine business want to keep it that way. It's what makes change difficult. Doctors and nurses are careful when they make pay demands – always framing them in the context of the suffering of sick people who need 'the best care', as opposed to healthcare professionals who need 'the best pay' to give that care.

That, of course, is nonsense. Irish healthcare workers are well paid by any standard and the higher up they go, the better the pay gets.

Our top hospital consultants, for example, made on average almost €470,000 each in 2009, not just one or two of them – 1,800 individuals.

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