Wednesday 7 December 2016

I'm too much of a crock to ditch the NHS and gamble on Ireland's broken health system

Published 29/08/2016 | 02:30

' I know there are many problems with the health services in Ireland (the National Health Service in Britain isn't problem-free either, because the demands are so enormous) and I'd be worried about accessing care via the HSE. It mightn't, either, be too patriotic to become a drain on the Irish health services in old age, and to be frank, I'm a bit of a crock'. Stock photo: PA
' I know there are many problems with the health services in Ireland (the National Health Service in Britain isn't problem-free either, because the demands are so enormous) and I'd be worried about accessing care via the HSE. It mightn't, either, be too patriotic to become a drain on the Irish health services in old age, and to be frank, I'm a bit of a crock'. Stock photo: PA

Like so many Irish exiles, I always thought I would eventually return to live in Ireland once I was free to do so. My English husband was severely disabled for a long time, and, I thought, if he pre-deceased me, I would probably go back to live in Dublin. The latest statistics show that many of the Irish diaspora are indeed doing that. Conor Cruise O'Brien always spoke about the "pull of the roots", and that pull never goes away. Thankfully.

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Well, my husband indeed departed this world last year. They say you should never make any major move for a year after a death because that's the time it takes to form a perspective: the traditional period of mourning was a year and a day, and like many traditions, it was based on common sense. A year and a day passed and I made no plans to re-establish residence in Ireland. I'm in Ireland frequently - at least once a month - but that's not quite the same thing as being a permanent resident. So what's stopping me?

A primary concern, surely, is health. I know there are many problems with the health services in Ireland (the National Health Service in Britain isn't problem-free either, because the demands are so enormous) and I'd be worried about accessing care via the HSE. It mightn't, either, be too patriotic to become a drain on the Irish health services in old age, and to be frank, I'm a bit of a crock.

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