I have been quite concerned lately.
For a long time now, we have seen very little of Mad Cow Harney on the news.
I grant you she was visible during the budget fiasco, sitting hunched over in her seat looking as gloriously miserable as ever and probably daydreaming of pizzas.
For quite a while, there has been no news of patients queuing on trolleys in our hospitals or people dying for lack of care. I grant you there have been a few court cases where the HSE has spectacularly been successfully sued for negligence, but this is pretty much a daily occurrence.
I was heartened therefore when a report came out stating that our so called Centres of Excellence have been proved to be anything but that. Good old Mad Cow. She has been doing her job all along.
A while ago, she decided to close all our hospitals. Now this is an ingenious way of saving money, and I tip my hat to her for that one, but there was a bit of an outcry about it. She had to dream up an excuse quickly, or her plans would be in tatters, the hospitals would remain open and there was a grave danger that people might actually receive a good healthcare service.
The excuse she came up with was rather inspired. She decided to carry on closing the hospitals, but to leave one or two open and to call them “Centres of Excellence”. I really had to admire that one. It conjured up images of gleaming space-age buildings crammed with every life saving piece of equipment available. It is the superlative of marketing and spin. The fact that these Centres of Excellence were the same old hospitals, with the same old clapped out equipment and lack of staff was conveniently ignored.
The simplicity of this arrangement is sublime in its perfection. If you are diagnosed with some expensive ailment or have some costly accident, you now have to travel the length of the country to reach your designated Centre. There is a very high probability that you’ll be dead long before you get there, so the Health Service can proudly proclaim that your remains are receiving the best of attention. We provide one of the best post-mortem services in the world.
Mad Cow’s bluff has been called however.
Some interfering busybody started sniffing around our Centres of Excellence, and discovered that they are still the old MRSA ridden Portacabins that they always were. One of the Centres of Excellence for the care of cancer in Waterford won the accolade, managing to fail 36 out of 48 of the standards expected. You must admit, it takes some dedication to produce a standard that bad.
Mad Cow remains true to form, I’m delighted to say.
She issued a statement saying that the outstanding issues "have been addressed and eliminated, others are in the process of being addressed because we’re recruiting new consultants into the cancer control programme." Roughly translated this means that she is shutting down the Health Information and Quality Authority [who are the busybodies concerned] and that she knows the new consultants will refuse to work because there isn’t any cash to pay them.
So the status quo has been peacefully restored.
Waiting times for treatment have neatly been extended to exceed the life expectancy of the patient, and MRSA continues to flourish.
Soon we will have the lowest mortality rate in any healthcare system in the world.
There will be no one left to die.