Saturday 29 April 2017

We would love to think Reilly can reform the health system – but our confidence is shaken

Health Minister James Reilly
Health Minister James Reilly
John Downing

John Downing

A friend of mine used to argue that the hospital car park was a metaphor for the entire health system. Often up close to the doorway of the main building, you'll find the staff car park. Patients and visitors have to make do with pay parking, often quite some distance away.

It is a harsh judgment and perhaps unfair to the thousands of dedicated care workers who really invest a lot in the care of their patients. But it does catch the air of the hospital as an industry, a provider of work and income, and a focal point for other associated businesses.

There is a simple commercial reality to all that. The furore when a small hospital in one of the country's market towns is earmarked for closure is as much about jobs and local business losses as it is about medical care.

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