Monday 11 December 2017

Patient care must be at the heart of health

Families appeal for death with dignity
Families appeal for death with dignity

IT IS rare for a new week to begin or an old one to end without another disturbing revelation about problems in our health services. This new week is no exception as nursing unions warn about the dangers posed to patient care by more cutbacks. Many good things occur each day in our health services and the personnel work wonders with limited resources. But the recurring problems about budgets and spending controls can at times be very dispiriting.

Today, this newspaper reports that nurses and midwives will refuse to co-operate with new cutbacks because they fear patients will be at risk. The issue brings us back to revelations about an €80m shortfall in savings under the Haddington Road Agreement on pay within the public service generally.

A month ago we learned of this €80m shortfall in the €292m savings earmarked under Haddington Road for this year. That shortfall, and a further €108m in unspecified savings which emerged in the wake of Budget day last October, is to be made up by cutbacks and all sides appear agreed that this can only mean cuts to frontline services.

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