During January the as part of Labours National Health Survey we dropped 2,500 surveys into homes across Kilkenny and the results certainly make interesting reading. Seamus Pattison TD and myself launched the survey locally in mid January.
The national survey shows 42% of people wait for over 6 hours in Accident and Emergency services, but this is only 20% in the Kilkenny area. The same applies for those admitted to a hospital bed with 85% of Kilkenny respondents waiting less than 12 hours for a bed, compared with a national figure of 49%. Unfortunately, this seems to lead to Kilkenny being at the bottom of the pile for funding of the facilities we are demanding, rather than being rewarded. The good results are a credit to the staff in the hospital and we should be proud of them, however the government need to address the funding short falls.
The other national figures in the survey are truly shocking. The divide between public and private patients is astonishing. 84% of private patients are seen by a consultant within three months, compared to just 30% of public patients. 98% of private patients virtually all are seen within six months, compared to 58% of public patients. As many as 22% of public patients have to wait longer than a year to see a consultant, compared to 1% of private patients.
This proves to me that in this country wealth and not need determines a person’s access to health care. If there has ever been a reason to change a government this has to be it. Knocking on doors, you meet people on waiting lists and you see the suffering they have to endure because they cannot afford to buy their way up the queue. You cannot but be angry when you see people left to suffer and the state ignoring their suffering.