Our Irish Health Service is in crisis. Overfunded and overcrowded, it is also woefully managed. Discontent in the Health & Safety Executive, (HSE), is expressed from the very lowest quarters right up to the millionaires in their lofty towers.
But it is a business and is run as such, or so we are told. It is supposed to cover costs, attract new business and ideally make a profit as well. The opposite is happening however, much to everybody’s consternation. Costs are repeatedly overrun, losses mount up and the only area they are succeeding in is attracting new business. This is the weird part.
Health ads run constantly in our media pandering to our neurosis and fear of disease and death. As an example, if you have felt listless, tired, uncomfortable, coughed or sneezed in the last month, you are probably as sick as a dog. The byline always is, check with your G.P. Your General Practitioner is the conduit into the HSE and a single referral from him or her is “new business” for the HSE. You can be added to their patient/customer database enrolling you as a guinea-pig for lotions and potions from the HSE’s patrons in the Pharmaceutical Industries.
If you consider the current state of play in purely health terms, none of it makes any sense whatsoever. However, if you look at it all in monetary terms, it all falls into place. Oh yes, the HSE is losing the taxpayer and the State shedloads of money everyday but ‘Big Pharma’ is coining it in Ireland. Not only do our complicit home-grown white coats prescribe what the Pharma’s tell them to, the white coats do quite well also thank you very much.
A wise owl told me on Thursday night that the GP surgeries and chemist shops are overrun with neurotic people intent on being labelled sick or ill. Regardless of what you complain of to the white coat, there is a four letter abbreviation for it featuring the letter “S” for syndrome somewhere in it. And once a syndrome is invented then the pills to treat it materialize shortly thereafter.
In a few short years I have witnessed the medical profession change utterly. Firstly the idea of a cure for anything has been abandoned in favor of the far more lucrative “treating illness.” I had an ernest white coat tell me one time as he handed me a prescription to, “Watch your pancreas.” How the fuck was I expected to do that? And even if it was possible to see this internal organ, what the hell was I to watch for? Was it sneaking out of me at night and snacking down at the fridge? The other thing I absolutely hate is when the medical type hands you a prescription and says, “See how you get on with these for a few weeks.” What does that mean in english? Perhaps he’s saying, “If you notice you are growing a tail come straight back to me.”
I do believe that modern medicine though has been paralyzed by the fear of being sued. Insurance companies have perverted medicine leaving the doctor powerless to do what he’s been paid for. The GP won’t opt to cure you because if it doesn’t work, he’s open to being put out of business. Instead he’ll send you to an outpatients for tests because this spreads the (insurance) risk. But the HSE is the biggest single employer in the State and the insurance problem has left many of their ranks with little to really do.
However, the devil makes work for idle hands so enter stage left, ‘public health.’ You see, in insurance the object of the exercise is to find the guilty or liable party to apportion blame. Public health has one blaring message for all of you and it is, “It’s all your own fault!” Yes indeed! If you get sick from anything it is because you tried a cigarette back in 1975 or you had that second drink eight years ago. You have been neglecting to run a mini-marathon twice a week as well so what were you expecting?
I suggest that public health is the combined forces of the pharmaceutical industry, the medical profession and the State fighting back against the insurance industry and you are the loser. This is how it goes now. First the ad will prompt you to visit the GP. He’ll send you to hospital for tests and based on the results of these, you’ll be prescribed tablets. The GP will lecture you on your lifestyle first, the nurses and doctors in the hospital will then have their say on this, the prescribing doctor will warn you cut down on whatever it is you like and even the dispensing pharmacist will have a go at you also.
Then, if the tablets put you in a wheelchair or a mental asylum, the industry is not to blame because they warned you. That my friends is why your personal lives are under the microscope today and sickness labels are being invented. It has nothing to do with your health or well-being but rather to apportion blame to you personally in case something goes wrong and someone phones the insurance man. That too is why alcohol and tobacco cause EVERYTHING according to the usual sources. It has nothing to do with health and everything to do with money.
Oh, and they’ll tell you it’s all for your own good naturally!