Health service is left hobbling along
Published 20/11/2011 | 05:00
Sir -- Saturday afternoon. The sun is shining and clothes are drying out on the line. A careless slip and bang: I am on the ground. Being fretted over by the collie, clothes pegs everywhere. There goes Saturday.
Hello, dilemma. I know I need medical attention: I can barely walk. My foot is swelling fast. Visible from the clothes line is the yellowy colour of Louth Hospital's walls. I can't go there anymore. Can I face the Lourdes? I've been in and out of the A&E there for nigh on the last year with an elderly relative. I cannot face the chaos, the noise, the staff (yes they're overworked and underpaid, but there never seems enough time for courtesy).
I decide to cross the border and head to Daisy Hill. I am greeted (yes, actually greeted) by a receptionist who calmly takes my details. She tells me that I will have to pay £84 but am assured that this will cover the full cost of treatment. Fine. It costs €100 to visit A&E. I am dreading seeing the waiting room -- by this time it is 10pm on Saturday. But there are fewer than a dozen people there, The X Factor is on the telly and we wait in polite silence.