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Archive for January, 2018

IRISH ELITE AND GOVERNMENT IMPLEMENT CRUEL LACK OF HEALTH CARE and Extra Unnecessary Deaths

January 13, 2018 Leave a comment

Varadkar Government Allowing 350 to 400 Additional Unnecessary Deaths each year due to failure to adequately Fund Irish Health Service-Medical Consultants.  “Obscene”- Nurses Union https://wp.me/pKzXa-10V

Act Now! Ask your Local Fine Gael and  Independent Alliance Councillor  To Publicly Oppose Varadkar Government Deaths Policy


 

Limerick hospital sets new record as 85 patients wait on trolleys for a bed—–Hospital Unsafe for Patients https://wp.me/pKzXa-10V

Nursing Union Calls For:

More home care packages to move patients out of the hospital -An immediate end to the recruitment ban for nurses and midwives-Emergency funding for extra agency staff NOW until above demands are met

Eilish O’Regan: Irish Independent:Nov 25
A new record for the number of hospital patients on trolleys in a single hospital was set today as 85 waited for beds in University Hospital Limerick this morning.The previous record was 82, set in October 2019, also in Limerick.

 

The previous record was 82, set in October 2019, also in Limerick.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) said patients without beds are typically on chairs and trolleys, often in corridors.

In Limerick today, there are 55 patients in the emergency department and 30 in wards elsewhere in the hospital.

The INMO called for a direct, immediate intervention in the hospital from senior HSE management, including:

  • Cancellation of non-essential elective work
  • More home care packages to move patients out of the hospital
  • Emergency funding for extra agency staff
  • An immediate end to the recruitment ban for nurses and midwives
  • Extra support for GPs and Public Health Nurses to allow more home/community treatment

There are 631 patients without beds across the country today – 22 of them are children. The worst-hit hospitals include:

  • Cork University Hospital – 52
  • Letterkenny University Hospital – 47
  • Tallaght University Hospital – 36
  • University Hospital Galway – 33

INMO Assistant Director of Industrial Relations for the region, Mary Fogarty said: “Despite the best efforts of local staff, the situation in Limerick continues to escalate. The hospital is breaking records in the worst possible way.

“Promises of future improvement will not suffice. Real action is needed today.

“We simply do not have sufficient capacity. Without an increase in beds and the professionals to staff them, this problem will continue to escalate.

“Our members are on the front line providing the best care they can – but the situation is intolerable for them and unsafe for patients.”

——————————————————————As Consultants Claim  400 unnecessary Deaths of Patients per year, Deep Cynicism of Government Response to Health Crisis is Condemned by Former Head of HSE in Sunday Business Post

“If Ministers are So Frustrated By Trolley Crisis, Then Government Should Fix it-To Do Otherwise is to Turn Overcrowding into a Government Policy covered up by shifting all responsibility to the front line

The government’s response to the problems in emergency departments is well-rehearsed and utterly ineffective. The steps needed to ease the pressure are obvious.The old staple government responses include: Minister is discussing the matter with the head of the HSE, having a teleconference with the hospital group chief executives, releasing a few home care packages, talking about the number of beds closed by previous Fianna Fáil administrations, expressing ‘beyond frustration’ with a suitably furrowed brow, and, above all, deflecting all responsibility to the frontline health service.-Tony O’Brien

By Tony O’Brien,  Nov 10, 2019  https://wp.me/pKzXa-10V

Over time, our national tolerance level has increased so that there are now higher and higher thresholds for the numbers of patients affected to constitute a ‘crisis’.

Sadly, there is also almost a palpable sense of relief when the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) releases its inevitable ‘worst day of the year’ or ‘worst day in history’ media statement.

Media interest peaks, the media management plan is unleashed, the opposition huffs and puffs, and then there is a sense that the worst is over in political terms, at least, although not necessarily in terms of trolley numbers.

When these psychological thresholds are breached, as they have been this week, all sorts of cosmetic efforts are made to show that the Minister for Health is responding.

The old staples include: discussing the matter with the head of the HSE, having a teleconference with the hospital group chief executives, releasing a few home care packages, talking about the number of beds closed by previous Fianna Fáil administrations, expressing ‘beyond frustration’ with a suitably furrowed brow, and, above all, deflecting all responsibility to the frontline health service.

These are shallow, tokenistic and cynical responses, but they are also tried-and-tested manoeuvres from the political spin playbook. They are shallow and cynical because none of this is really about solving the problem. As the headline numbers are marginally reduced to the previous crisis threshold, attention wanes and then it’s business as usual.

Reducing the headline total by a few dozen or fewer may well solve the political problem of the day, but it is cold comfort to a patient stuck on a trolley in an emergency department (ED) corridor for 24 hours – which is not an unusual experience.

The causes of ED overcrowding are not mysterious and the measures necessary to resolve them are not exceptionally complicated, but the situation is not improving – it’s getting steadily worse. Politicians show no signs of being sufficiently motivated to fix the causes of the problem.

In fact, political trolley fatigue syndrome has set in. Its symptoms include periods of policy inaction, evidence denial, resource misdirection, ministerial hand-wringing and blame deflection. Sufferers tend to cling to irrational beliefs – for example, that an increasing and ageing population can have its needs met by a system that independent reports, commissioned by ministers, have demonstrated is just too small in terms of bed numbers to meet the country’s needs.

Add to this syndrome the fact that hospitals must accept and somehow accommodate all patients through a perennially open entrance door and keep many of them inside, even if there is no clinical reason to do so.

Each hospital has a fixed number of beds; once they are full, as they typically are, only when a patient leaves can a new one be accommodated. Of all those who present to EDs, between 20 and 30 per cent will need a bed. The excess of patients who need admission over the number of available beds is what produces the daily trolley count.

This annual official ‘trolley crisis’ – there is an unofficial one most days now – is entirely predictable.

The numbers presenting to EDs are rising steadily, as are the numbers who need beds. But all too frequently, the services patients need to facilitate their discharge from hospital are in short supply, which closes off their exit route and thus ‘blocks’ a bed. They may need home adaptation, home help, intensive home care, long-term home or residential care, or rehabilitation.

The budgets for most of these care programmes are limited, the supply is rationed, and the result is avoidable hospital congestion, as patients are forced to use our most expensive healthcare asset, an acute hospital bed, for want of a much cheaper and more appropriate alternative service.

If the government is sincere in its stated concerns about ED overcrowding, then it should be taking action to make the alternatives to hospital admission, and the exit route following an emergency admission, demand-driven, just like the ED front door. There should be no artificial limit on access to any clinically or socially necessary form of supported discharge. Anything less than this is just not good enough – in fact, anything less means that ED overcrowding is actually government policy.

The government also knows that to bring an end to persistent hospital overcrowding, it needs to reform the way hospitals are configured and function. Major urban centres need to have differentiated hospitals for planned versus emergency care patients to end the damaging competition for beds.

The large number of EDs in Dublin needs to be reduced to allow resources to be concentrated and 24/7 senior consultant in-person cover to become the standard.

It is a widely held belief that having senior clinical decision-makers on site would improve quality of care and minimise avoidable admissions.

Smaller regional hospitals with EDs are featuring prominently in daily trolley counts and the conditions for some patients in such locations, for example South Tipperary General, can be particularly poor. Hospitals like this are often also the worst hit by the crisis in consultant recruitment. The stubborn refusal of the government to sort out pay inequality among consultants, despite numerous empty promises to do so, is exacerbating the recruitment and retention woes of the system in general and does not help hospitals like South Tipperary.

Consultant shortages lengthen inpatient and outpatient waiting lists. Patients end up sicker before they are seen and then go to understaffed EDs. There, they are seen by less experienced doctors who tend to admit more patients than experienced consultants, resulting in patients enduring hours and maybe days on a trolley where they are at greater risk of an adverse outcome.

What we need are fewer broken promises, less furrowed-brow sympathy and a bit more action. Patients need, expect and deserve no less.

Tony O’Brien is a former director general of the HSE

 

DEEP Cynicism By Government in Response to Health Services-Former Head of HSE in Sunday Business Post

“The old staples include: discussing the matter with the head of the HSE, having a teleconference with the hospital group chief executives, releasing a few home care packages, talking about the number of beds closed by previous Fianna Fáil administrations, expressing ‘beyond frustration’ with a suitably furrowed brow, and, above all, deflecting all responsibility to the frontline health service.

These are shallow, tokenistic and cynical responses, but they are also tried-and-tested manoeuvres from the political spin playbook. They are shallow and cynical because none of this is really about solving the problem. As the headline numbers are marginally reduced to the previous crisis threshold, attention wanes and then it’s business as usual.”

https://www.businesspost.ie/opinion/ministers-frustrated-trolley-crisis-fix-456627

 

 

————————————————————-Irish Association of Emergency Medicine (Eminent Consultant Officers below):    “350 to 400 excess deaths are occurring each year because of the state of the emergency departments, the overcrowding and the long delays in treatment in those departments.”

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, INMO, yesterday described the situation in the Health Service as “obscene” and said, “Winter has not even started, and Irish hospitals are overwhelmed”. It went on to say that nurses are faced with an inhumane working environment, while patients are put at ever-increasing risk.

Officers of Irish Association of Emergency Medicine

Chair: Dr Emily O’Conor, FCEM
Consultant in Emergency Medicine

 Connolly Hospital Blanchardstown Abbotstown  Dublin 15

Secretary: Mr (Surgeon) M. Ashraf Butt FRCSI, Dip IMC (RCSEd), FRCSEd (A&E), MScDM, FFSEM
Honorary Senior Clinical lecturer, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
Consultant in Emergency Medicine

Cavan General Hospital Lisdarn  Co. Cavan.

Treasurer;Dr Sinead O’Gorman MMedSci, DCH, FRCSI, FACEM, FRCEM
Consultant in Emergency Medicine

 Letterkenny University Hospital,Letterkenny,  Co. Donegal.

Seamus Healy TD: Dáil Nov 5

I have to say that I am shocked at the lack of urgency that the Taoiseach displays, almost indifference, almost as if this situation is normal. The trolley figures are absolutely obscene. We have people suffering on trolleys in our hospitals and people are dying on trolleys in our hospitals. The Taoiseach is the leader of this country and I have to say that he has a responsibility for this obscenity, he has a responsibility for the suffering and a responsibly for the deaths of these people on trolleys in our hospitals over recent years, a position that continues to this day. The Taoiseach can solve this problem.

Micheál Martin, Fianna Fáil  Dáil Nov 6

Critically, the Irish Association for Emergency Medicine has said that this is costing lives as people are dying as a result of the overcrowding. It says that 350 to 400 excess deaths are occurring each year because of the state of the emergency departments, the overcrowding and the long delays in treatment in those departments. This was confirmed to me by experienced medical authorities in Cork University Hospital, who reluctantly said that they had to admit and confirm that some people who attend the hospital will die as a result of the overcrowding and delayed treatment. In addition, there is a chronic shortage of consultants and a lack of rehabilitation beds, step-down facilities and home care packages.

When will the moratorium on the recruitment of staff be lifted? There are approximately 1,000 posts on the front line unfilled currently.

Officers of Irish Association of Emergency Medicine

Chair: Dr Emily O’Conor

FCEM
Consultant in Emergency Medicine

Connolly Hospital Blanchardstown Abbotstown  Dublin 15

 

Secretary: Mr (Surgeon) M. Ashraf Butt

FRCSI, Dip IMC (RCSEd), FRCSEd (A&E), MScDM, FFSEM
Honorary Senior Clinical lecturer, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
Consultant in Emergency Medicine

Cavan General Hospital Lisdarn  Co. Cavan.

Treasurer;Dr Sinead O’Gorman

MMedSci, DCH, FRCSI, FACEM, FRCEM
Consultant in Emergency Medicine

Letterkenny University Hospital,Letterkenny,  Co. Donegal.

——————————————————————

As Numbers on  HOSPITAL TROLLEYs reach second Highest Figure Ever- Seamus Healy TD called on Taoiseach in the Dáil  to  Reopen the Accident and Emergency departments at Nenagh General Hospital and Ennis General Hospital, reopen Our Lady’s Hospital Cashel and lift the GOVERNMENT BAN on both extra  staffing and home help hours.-BUT TAOISEACH REFUSED

https://wp.me/pKzXa-10V

“One of the areas which has suffered the brunt of the policy that I am speaking is the mid-west, including Limerick, Clare and north Tipperary, which is part of my constituency. There are knock-on effects at South Tipperary General Hospital in addition. University Hospital Limerick and South Tipperary General Hospital consistently among the highest trolley figures in the country. Today’s trolley figures are absolutely obscene. Patients are suffering and patients are dying on trolleys in our emergency departments, something the Irish Association for Emergency Medicine has warned us about for the past number of years. Today’s figures are the second highest ever recorded.”-Seamus Healy TD

Question by Seamus Healy TD  Nov 5, 2019: From 2002 on, successive Governments have espoused and implemented the downgrading of hospitals and the transfer of acute hospital services to so-called centres of excellence. We all know that that policy has created chaos. It was wrong then and it is wrong now, and it should never have happened.

We in South Tipperary were lucky, that people power, that 15,000 people on the streets stopped the transfer of our services to other areas, but other areas were not as lucky. It is now time to recognise that failure of policy and reverse that policy failure.

The trolley figures are a clear example of the chaos. Those figures, and we are talking about human beings on trolleys in accident and emergency departments, on corridors and in wards are a clear example of the chaos, are a clear example of the failure and a clear example of the indignity suffered by thousands upon thousands of patients over the past ten years. The figures for October, 11,452, are absolutely outrageous. The figures are climbing year on year, and of course we haven’t really entered Winter at all yet.

One of the areas which has suffered the brunt of the policy that I am speaking is the mid-west, including Limerick, Clare and north Tipperary, which is part of my constituency. There are knock-on effects at South Tipperary General Hospital in addition. University Hospital Limerick and South Tipperary General Hospital consistently among the highest trolley figures in the country. Today’s trolley figures are absolutely obscene. Patients are suffering and patients are dying on trolleys in our emergency departments, something the Irish Association for Emergency Medicine has warned us about for the past number of years. Today’s figures are the second highest ever recorded.

Mary Harney, the former Minister for Health, declared an emergency when there were 602 patients on trolleys. Today there are 679 patients on trolleys. The particular problems at University Hospital Limerick and in Clare and north Tipperary started with the closure of the accident and emergency departments at Nenagh General Hospital and at Ennis General Hospital. There is now a campaign locally and there have been a number of very successful meetings to demand the reopening of the Accident and Emergency departments both at Nenagh General Hospital and at Ennis General Hospital

The chaos resulting from the policy I have described has been compounded by two moratoriums. Everybody in this Chamber, including the Taoiseach, knows they are real.

We have a moratorium on the recruitment of staff. There are currently 432 vacant posts for staff nurses, public health nurses and staff midwives. There are more than 500 nurse vacancies in mental health services. I know three nursing posts have been vacant for the past six months in South Tipperary mental health services, in the child and adolescent mental health services and a Clinical Nurse Specialist for mental health services in the accident and emergency department in Clonmel.

Is it now time to accept that the policy of downgrading hospitals has failed and that the policy should be reversed? Isn’t it now time to agree to the reopening of the accident and emergency department in Ennis and Nenagh? And isn’t it now time finally to recognise what we all know that there is a moratorium on both staffing and home help hours and that that moratorium should be lifted immediately.

I have to say that I am shocked at the lack of urgency that the Taoiseach displays, almost indifference, almost as if this situation is normal. The trolley figures are absolutely obscene. We have people suffering on trolleys in our hospitals and people are dying on trolleys in our hospitals. The Taoiseach is the leader of this country and I have to say that he has a responsibility for this obscenity, he has a responsibility for the suffering and a responsibly for the deaths of these people on trolleys in our hospitals over recent years, a position that continues to this day. The Taoiseach can solve this problem.
He absolutely can solve this problem. I ask him to introduce immediately a supplementary budget to tax the 1%, the very wealthy people, the billionaires who own 27.3% of all the wealth in this country. They are not paying their fair share now, nor have they ever done so. I want the Taoiseach to reopen the accident and emergency departments at Nenagh General Hospital and Ennis General Hospital and to reopen Our Lady’s Hospital Cashel, a state-of-the-art hospital which has been vacant for the past ten years. The Taoiseach has the responsibility to solve this problem. He can do it. The question is whether he has the political will to do it.

—————————————————————————————————————————–Full Exchanges with Taoiseach: Seamus Healy TD Questions Taoiseach on Crisis in Health Service   05/11/2019

As trolley figures published today reach the highest figure this year and the Second Highest Figure in History, Will the Taoiseach tax the Irish billionaires to fund our health services?-Healy  https://wp.me/pKzXa-10V

That will not be necessary. Everything is already being done by government -Varadkar

Deputy Seamus Healy

One of the areas which has suffered the brunt of the policy about which I am speaking is the mid-west, including Limerick, Clare and north Tipperary, which is part of my constituency. There are knock-on effects on South Tipperary General Hospital. University Hospital Limerick and South Tipperary General Hospital consistently have the highest trolley figures in the country. Today’s trolley figures are obscene. Patients are suffering and dying on trolleys in our emergency departments, something the Irish Association for Emergency Medicine has warned us about for the past number of years. Today’s figures are the second highest ever recorded.

From 2002 on, successive Governments have espoused and implemented the downgrading of hospitals and the transfer of acute hospital services to so-called centres of excellence. We all know that that policy has created chaos. It was wrong then and it is wrong now, and it should never have happened. We in south Tipperary were lucky that 15,000 people on the streets stopped the transfer of our services to other areas, but other areas were not as lucky. It is now time to recognise and reverse that policy failure.

The trolley figures are a clear example of the chaos. The human beings on trolleys in accident and emergency departments, on corridors and in wards are a clear example of the chaos, failure and indignity suffered by thousands of patients over the past ten years. The total figure for October is 11,452, which is outrageous. The figures are climbing year on year, and we have not yet entered winter.

One of the areas which has suffered the brunt of the policy about which I am speaking is the mid-west, including Limerick, Clare and north Tipperary, which is part of my constituency. There are knock-on effects on South Tipperary General Hospital. University Hospital Limerick and South Tipperary General Hospital consistently have the highest trolley figures in the country. Today’s trolley figures are obscene. Patients are suffering and dying on trolleys in our emergency departments, something the Irish Association for Emergency Medicine has warned us about for the past number of years. Today’s figures are the second highest ever recorded.

Mary Harney, the former Minister for Health, declared an emergency when 602 patients were on trolleys. Today, the figure is 679. The particular problems at University Hospital Limerick and in Clare and north Tipperary started with the closure of the accident and emergency departments in Nenagh and Ennis general hospitals. A local campaign held a number of very successful meetings to demand the reopening of the accident and emergency departments in those hospitals.

The chaos resulting from the policy I have described has been compounded by two moratoriums. Everybody in this Chamber, including the Taoiseach, knows they are

We have a moratorium on the recruitment of staff. There are 432 vacant posts for staff nurses, public health nurses and staff midwives. There are more than 500 nurse vacancies in mental health services. I know three nursing posts have been vacant for the past six months in south Tipperary mental health services, child and adolescent mental health services—–

—–and mental health services in the accident and emergency department in Clonmel. Is it now time to accept that the policy of downgrading hospitals has failed and that the policy should be reversed? Is it not time to agree to the reopening of the accident and emergency department in Ennis and Nenagh?

Reply by Taoiseach

Regarding Clonmel hospital, which I know is very severely overcrowded at the moment, a new bed block is under construction there and we will get it open as soon as we possibly can once construction is finished.

Deputy Mattie McGrath

 

Where will we get the staff?

 

The Taoiseach

 

As for Limerick, as Deputies will be aware, a new emergency department, perhaps the most modern in the country, is open and functioning; a new block, the Leben block, opened two or three years ago; a further block of 60 beds is under construction and should open next year; and another block of 96 beds is planned to be built after that. Deputy Healy, I think, called for the reopening of the emergency departments in Nenagh and Ennis and perhaps other parts of the country. He also quoted the Irish Association for Emergency Medicine. They are the doctors who work in emergency departments, they are the experts when it comes to emergency departments and they say we should not reopen—–

Deputy Seamus Healy

 

They say 350 patients are dying on trolleys.

 

The Taoiseach

 

—–any emergency departments. In fact, they say we should further consolidate them because modern emergency care can only be provided properly in a relatively small number of large centres rather than a large number of small centres. The latter might have worked in the past, when medicine was different, but it will not work in the future.

The mid-west and the north east tell different stories. In the mid-west, it is absolutely the case that Limerick experiences very severe overcrowding. I know that people there link it to changes made to the role of Ennis and Nenagh. In the north east, however, the story is very different. Monaghan and Dundalk emergency departments were closed quite some time ago – again, long before my party was in government. However, we see in the hospitals that took over from them, namely Cavan and Drogheda, the lowest levels of overcrowding in a very long time. There are record low levels of overcrowding in some of those hospitals. Therefore it is not as simple as saying reconfiguring causes overcrowding because one sees such a totally different story in the north east than in the mid-west.

 

Deputy Seamus Healy

 

I am shocked at the lack of urgency, almost indifference, the Taoiseach displays, almost as if this situation is normal. The trolley figures are absolutely obscene. We have people suffering and dying on trolleys in our hospitals. The Taoiseach is the leader of this country and has a responsibility for this obscenity, the suffering and the deaths of these people on trolleys in our hospitals over recent years, a position that continues to this day. He absolutely can solve this problem. I ask him to introduce immediately a supplementary budget to tax the 1%, the very wealthy people, the billionaires who own 27.3% of all the wealth in this country. They are not paying their fair share now, nor have they ever done so. I want the Taoiseach to reopen the accident and emergency departments at Nenagh hospital—–

An Ceann Comhairle

 

I thank the Deputy. He is way over time again.

Deputy Seamus Healy

 

—–and Ennis hospital and to reopen Our Lady’s Hospital Cashel, a state-of-the-art hospital which has been vacant for the past ten years.

An Ceann Comhairle

 

The Deputy’s time is up.

Deputy Seamus Healy

 

The Taoiseach has the responsibility to solve this problem. He can do it. The question is whether he has the political will to do it.

An Ceann Comhairle

 

I thank the Deputy and call the Taoiseach to conclude on this matter.

The Taoiseach

 

I assure the Deputy there is absolutely no need for a supplementary budget. The HSE will get an extra €1 billion next year.

Deputy Seamus Healy

 

This situation is normal, is it?

The Taoiseach

 

This will be the biggest budget the HSE has ever had and a very high one relative to other countries per capita—–

Deputy Seamus Healy

 

The Government will not tax the rich then.

The Taoiseach

 

—–so that will not be necessary. The Deputy thinks the solution to hospital overcrowding is higher taxes; it is not.

Deputy Seamus Healy

 

I referred to higher taxes on billionaires, who own 27.3% of all the wealth in this country. They are the 1%.

An Ceann Comhairle

 

Please, Deputy.

The Taoiseach

 

The solution is more beds, more funding for fair deal, more home care packages and investment in primary care and public health, all of which is being done.

 

————————————————————–Lack of staff, beds to trigger ‘worst winter trolley crisis’-Hospital Consultants Association

https://wp.me/pKzXa-10V

Some 500 consultant posts – accounting for one in five specialists – remain vacant or filled on a temporary basis, the president of HCA added

 

Eilish O,Regan, Irish Idependent, September 3 2019

Hospital overcrowding is in danger of reaching record levels this winter as more patients endure long delays on trolleys before being moved to a ward, senior doctors warned yesterday.

Dr Donal O’Hanlon, president of the Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA), warned: “Our acute hospital system is at breaking point due to a severe shortage of consultants and a lack of beds and other facilities.

“The quality and safety of patient care is deteriorating further due to persistent underinvestment.”

He was speaking at the launch of IHCA’s pre-Budget submission, calling on the Government to prioritise investment in medical staff and public hospital capacity deficits.

Some 500 consultant posts – accounting for one in five specialists – remain vacant or filled on a temporary basis, he added.

Talks are expected to begin this month on filling the gap which leaves new consultant recruits earning around €50,000 less than their long-serving colleagues.

However, the doctors’ body looks set to resist any move to make increased productivity measures part of any new deal, saying they are already seeing more patients than colleagues in other countries.

Secretary general Martin Varley also rejected any plan to make all new recruits work only for public patients with no private practice. He said it was tried on two occasions, including 2011, and it failed.

Commenting on yesterday’s capital plan, the IHCA said it only provides for 480 beds, or 100 fewer beds over each of the three years compared to National Development Plan promises.

————————————————————LONGER THAN 1 YEAR AND 3 MONTHS WAITING For IN-Patient Treatment

HSE:Analysis of waiting lists by the NTPF, as of February 2017, identified that 38,991 patients will be waiting for in-patient or day case treatment greater than 15 months at the end of October 2017.

——————————————————————–

LIMERICK AND CLONMEL- Hospitals Serving Co Tipperary Top THE TROLLY  COUNT  https://wp.me/pKzXa-10V

But Minister Harris tells people who are feeling sick to check a website to see how sick they are

 January 15, 2019 11:50 James Brennan Irish News

The former trainee journalist turned Minister for Health has decided to give advice to the public on minding their health.

University Hospital Limerick once again tops the shameful list, with 59 patients suffering while waiting for a bed, followed by South Tipperary Hospital with 50, and Cork University Hospital with 48.

As 600 people languished on trolleys around the country yesterday, according to figures just released by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO), Minister for Health Simon Harris had a very simple Simon answer, check a website!

Speaking on VirginMedia News yesterday, Harris advised people who are feeling sick to check a website called “undertheweather.ie” to see just how sick they really are!

This is the highest figure recorded since March of last year.

University Hospital Limerick once again tops the shameful list, with 59 patients suffering while waiting for a bed, followed by South Tipperary Hospital with 50, and Cork University Hospital with 48.

It appears you’re not been advised by the actual Minister for Health himself to go to a website rather than A&E.

—————————————————-EMERGENCY: PROTECT CHILDREN FROM DEADLY BACTERIAL MENINGITIS THAT CAN KILL IN HOURS NOW MINISTER HARRIS!Shocking Cynicism by Health Minister

Support Petition 

https://my.uplift.ie/petitions/catch-up-meningitis-b-vaccine-for-all-children?source=facebook-share-button&time=1547126605&fbclid=IwAR1Y4kW48PmORO3q_j-AG_mKYde2ybNJXka4y0v6L15-M5aTpURMF4YsBrM

VACCINATION MUST BE PROVIDED FREE! Vulnerable Children with Medical Cards including those with Downs Syndrome and Diabetes born before October 2016 must pay 300 Euro for two Jabs. Children under 3 years must pay!

HSE ADVISES THAT VULNERABLE CHILDREN MUST BE VACCINATED IMMEDIATELY As A PRIORITY

MINISTER MUST ACT TODAY TO SAVE LIVES!!!

When Minister Harris Brought in Free Vaccinations in OCTOBER 2016, Children born even one day before that, still under 3 years of ageto-day were not covered

When a parent seeks free vaccination on behalf of a child covered by medical card, but born before October 2016, the HSE replies that it cannot supply the vaccine free as this is not provided for in law. The request for the vaccine, even for a disabled child over 2 years and 3 months, is “elective”  not “mandatory”

 

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Mr Harris is looking to employ market research consultants to ask the general public, health workers, and others what they consider to be the key health issues and priorities and then devise a communications strategy based on their answers.
Minister badly afflicted by a case of out-of-touchitis
Irish Examiner, Friday, January 11, 2019 By Caroline O’Doherty
Flu and the winter vomiting bug may be the afflictions of the season, but out-of-touch-itis is the one that’s taken hold of Simon Harris.Emergency departments are overflowing, GPs are swamped, waiting lists are out of control, mental health services are in crisis, staff are in exodus, and nurses are about to strike — the list of ailments affecting the health service is long, serious, and, one would think, obvious.
Unless, it seems, you’re the minister for health.
Mr Harris is looking to employ consultants — of the market-research kind (we can’t afford the medical kind) — to ask the general public, health workers, and others what they consider to be the key health issues and priorities and then devise a communications strategy based on their answers.

VACCINATION MUST BE PROVIDED FREE! Vulnerable Children with Medical Cards including those with Downs Syndrome and Diabetes born before October 2016 must pay 300 Euro for two Jabs. Children under 3 years must pay

HSE ADVISES THAT VULNERABLE CHILDREN MUST BE VACCINATED IMMEDIATELY As A PRIORITY

But when CHILDREN with MEDICAL CARD seek vaccination, parents are told that HSE is not required by Law to provide it free as it is “elective” for those born before October 2016!!!  Official Savagery!!!

MINISTER MUST ACT TODAY TO SAVE LIVES!!!

When Minister Harris Brought in Free Vaccinations in OCTOBER 2016, Children born before that, still under 3 years to-day were nor

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Irish Mirror 17 April, 2018 PLEASE SHARE

Student Nurse , Tara Nic Chormaic, pens powerful social media message to Health Minister Simon Harris after walking miles through snow to work during Storm Emma

Full Letter  https://wp.me/pKzXa-10V

Tara penned a furious open letter to Simon Harris voicing her fears for the future of the health service that is already at breaking point.

 

(Fourth-year Student Nurse, Tara Nic Chormaic, 28, says the hell of hospitals has left the Class of 2018 burnt out and disillusioned.Student nurses have as little as €6 a week left to buy food on their pathetic pay.The trainee from Tallaght, Dublin, will soon qualify as a Children’s and General Nurse.But crisis conditions are sparking a brain drain, she claims.)

 

The letter went as follows:

Dear Mr Harris,

I don’t know of any other undergraduate courses in Ireland, outside health-sciences, where one day your bringing life into the world, and the next holding the hands of someone leaving this world, comforting families who have been totally broken apart.

 

 

Nurses are glue. We hold teams, families, friends and patients together.

We try and stop people from taking their own lives, instil hope.

Many of us can’t do it for ourselves.

Why are student nurses going home crying at the end of a week of 39hours unpaid placements and a further 36 hours of their normal jobs to keep a roof over their heads, because student grants are just a drop in the ocean to helping with student debt?

Student nurses although officially “not counted in the numbers” are being counted in the numbers on wards – to the point without students the wards would collapse at times.

You keep talking about retaining nurses. If we don’t get treated well in training why would we think it’ll be any better when we qualify.

We see the stress qualified nurses are under to feed their families and keep a roof over their head as it is. Nurses sleeping in their cars.

New graduates not able to afford their rent and mortgages or even dream of ever getting a mortgage without moving away.

Despite this we go in day after day and care for everyone else when we can’t care for ourselves.

This week I had €6.49 to spend on food, more than normal, to keep me going for a week.

 

Not sure if you know, but nursing is a physically and mentally demanding job. You need energy. Energy comes from food and sleep. Two basics that I just don’t get, because I chose in the face of adversity to better myself. To do what I’ve always wanted to do and become a nurse. To help others.

I’m a Children’s and General Nursing student. Everyone tells me I’m incredibly lucky to be in such a prestigious course and how it’ll stand to me and be worth it in the end. €28,768 a year as a staff nurse. €2791 I earn extra a year for having dual qualification.

Four and a half years of studying and doing the same workloads as General Nursing students at the same time as covering the extra work, study, assignments, exams, placements and stress of doing the Children’s Nursing aspect for €2791 extra a year when I qualify.

That doesn’t even cover one years student contribution fee. That doesn’t touch the student loans I’ve had to take out because of the cost of living (and it’s far from a fancy life I live).

Student and Staff Nurses are burnt out.

The conditions and pay we are working under are beyond shocking.

The job we do is worth so much more. We are worth so much more. When will you see that?

Tara

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Martin Wall, Irish Times,: Friday, January 12, 2018, 18:23

There are now more than 500,000 people waiting for an out-patient appointment to see a hospital consultant, new figures show.

The National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) on Friday published figures showing that overall the number of patients on hospital waiting lists is continuing to rise.

There were 81,468 people on waiting lists for hospital in-patient or day case procedures at the end of December, up from 80,595 at the end of November.

The number of patients waiting for an out-patient appointment in December was 500,800, up from 497,721 in November.

Minister for Health Simon Harris said the out-patient waiting list remained “a big challenge that needs to be addressed”. He said the budget for the NTPF and to deal with waiting lists had dramatically increased .

He said he expected “ to see good progress in driving down waiting lists as we come into the spring”.

However, Fianna Fáil’s health spokesman Billy Kelleher said it was “absolutely appalling” that more than half a million people were now waiting for an outpatient appointment.

He argued that Mr Harris had “clearly taken his eye off the ball as he attempts, and fails, to grapple with emergency department trolley crisis”

“A total of 138,584 of these patients spent all of 2017 waiting unsuccessfully for an outpatient consultation. And half of these have actually being waiting since the middle of 2016,” he said.

“We should remember too that Leo Varadkar promised that no-one would be waiting more than 18 months by the middle of 2015. Delivery on that commitment seems further away than ever.”

Mr Harris said it was worth highlighting that the number of patients waiting more than 12 months was lower in December than at any point last year and there were marked decreases in those waiting for treatment for a number of specialities including cataracts; ear, nose and throat; urology and scopes.

“At present over 57 per cent of patients on the in-patient list wait less than six months, and over 84 per cent wait less than 12 months for their procedure. This is despite the additional demands on our hospitals,” he said.

“The out-patient waiting list remains a big challenge that needs to be addressed. It is worth noting that last year almost half a million (479,000) outpatients did not attend their appointment. This is something that must be tackled.”

Mr Kelleher said it was “ bitterly disappointing” that after four months of modest improvements, the numbers waiting on the inpatient day case list have edged upwards again.”

“Sadly the chaos we have seen in our emergency departments so far in 2018 means that we are likely to see a further increase in January,” he said. “It is critical that the Minister for Health publishes the bed capacity review as soon as possible and bring forward a costed plan for its swift implementation.”

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RTE:Almost 679,000 patients waiting for hospital care, new figures show

Updated / Friday, 6 Oct 2017 22:55

Over 101,460 were waiting for inpatient or day case treatment, down slightly on the August figure

Over 678,800 patients are now waiting for hospital care, according to the latest figures from the National Treatment Purchase Fund.

The figures released this evening are up to the end of September.

While the overall figures represent an increase of about 19,000 on the previous month, some lists have seen reductions.

Of the 678,800 total, over 101,460 were waiting for inpatient or day case treatment, down slightly on the August figure.

19,100 were waiting for a gastrointestinal endoscopy check.

Over 495,300 were waiting to be seen by a consultant at an outpatient clinic, down slightly on the August figures.

A further 62,800 people were scheduled for follow-up care soon having had initial treatment already.

In August, the National Treatment Purchase Fund changed the way the waiting list figures are presented.

The figures now detail patients who have a date set to be seen, patients waiting for a date, and suspended patients – those who are temporarily unfit or unable to attend due to clinical or personal reasons.

The total number in the suspended list is 10,317.

Included in the suspended list are patients whose treatment is being outsourced to another hospital, possibly a private hospital.

The NTPF also publishes a list of what are called ‘planned procedures’ – a list of patients who have had an initial episode of care and who are waiting for further treatment.

Minister for Health Simon Harris has said he welcomes that there has been a reduction in the total number of patients waiting for both procedures and outpatient appointments.

In a statement, Mr Harris said: “This is evidence that the measures being taken to reduce waiting lists are beginning to work. We are seeing a downward trend and we expect that to continue. This is the second month in a row that we have seen a reduction in the number of patients waiting for Inpatient or Day Case procedures.

Mr Harris said that “good progress” was being made, before noting the long waiting list times faced by patients, saying: “I acknowledge that waiting times are too long and I am keenly aware of the burden that long waiting times for treatment places on patient and their families.

“That is why we now need to do more and that is why funding for the NTPT is to rise in 2018, so that more procedures can be carried out and more people can be treated.”

He added that the reduction of waiting times for patients and improving access to health services is one of his key priorities.

Mother waiting over two years for procedure

Serena Guilfoyle from Portlaoise is 34 years old and is the mother of four young children.

She was recently treated for breast cancer and has ongoing problems with her stomach and had part of her bowel removed.

Ms Guilfoyle is awaiting news on a possible diagnosis of coeliac disease.

 

She is on the waiting list at the Midland Regional Hospital Tullamore for a stomach biopsy – with an appointment date over two years away.

She told RTÉ Newsshe is terrified of the wait.

The Midland Regional Hospital in Tullamore said it cannot comment on individual patient care.

The hospital said it is actively working with the HSE to ensure no patient is waiting more than 18 months and to meet targets set for those waiting less than 15 months.

It said it is committed to ensuring that those with the greatest clinical need are prioritised for treatment.

The Private Hospitals Association has called on the Minister for Health Simon Harris to convene a crisis summit over hospital waiting lists.

The Association said radical solutions are now required to drive down waiting lists and to keep them down for good.

Its Chief Executive, Simon Nugent, said it was like a chronic ‘Groundhog Day’ for hundreds of thousands of patients and their families who every month are being told that their wait must go on.

 

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Current hospital crisis will seem like picnic if more beds not provided in future – HSE

Martin Wall, Irish times,Wednesday, January 10, 2018, 11:07

The current level of hospital overcrowding will “look like a picnic” compared to what will happen in the future unless capacity is increased, the head of the HSE has said.

Tony O’Brien said the population was growing and ageing and people would need more access to healthcare. He said this meant the healthcare system would have to be “differently shaped and differently sized”.

He said he was pleased that there was now a political consensus about the issue.

Speaking on RTÉ’s News at One, Mr O’Brien said if additional bed capacity was not provided, the healthcare system would face “an existential crisis” in the years ahead.

“We cannot go through the next five years without addressing this issue, because what we’re seeing today will look like a picnic if we don’t,” he said.

“If we continue with the healthcare system in the shape that it is, with only the number of beds that it has, with the population changing and increasing, the level of demand for emergency care will continue to grow with a static bed stock.”

Mr O’Brien made his comments after new figures compiled by nurses revealed there were 551 patients on trolleys in emergency departments or on wards awaiting admission to a hospital bed.

Mr O’Brien said he acknowledged that the experience for many patients in hospitals at present was not good.

He said the trolley figures for Wednesday were much too high but they were also clearly evident of the tremendous work being carried out by staff and the fact that some of the planning put in place over the last year had been effective in part.

Mr O’Brien said the Irish public health system was structured for a different time, as was its level of capacity.

He said bed occupancy in many of the country’s major hospital was running at well over 100 per cent.

“Last week in the UK, because it exceeded 85 per cent (bed occupancy levels) we saw the prime minister apologising for the cancellation of all elective treatment. If we followed that we would not be doing elective treatment at all.”

He said he was pleased that with the forthcoming report of the Government’s bed capacity review and the Slaintecare reforms “we are on the brink of changes which will mean in the future we will not see what we are seeing now”.

Not competitive

The Irish Times reported on Saturday that the review will call for the provision of an additional 2,000 – 2,500 acute hospital beds if planned healthcare reforms were implemented and up to 9,000 additional beds if the changes were not put in place.

Mr O’Brien warned, however, that increasing capacity in hospitals did not involve “going down to Bargaintown and buying a few beds”.

He said providing infrastructure in hospitals was a complex, long and expensive business.

He said additional staff would also have to be found and he acknowledged that Ireland was not internationally competitive in recruiting healthcare personnel.

New figures released by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) said there were 43 patients at LetterkennyGeneral Hospital and 42 patients at Galway University Hospital waiting for a bed after being deemed by doctors to require admission .

The INMO figures suggest that the number of people on trolleys is down from the 575 recorded on Tuesday and the record levels of 677 reached last week.

The INMO figures show that in Dublin the largest number of people waiting for a bed was at Tallaght Hospital while 29 people were on trolleys or on wards awaiting admission to a bed.

Capacity

Meanwhile the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) urged the Government to acknowledge that the health service was experiencing a system-wide problem of lack of capacity and not just an emergency department or trolley crisis.

“ What we are seeing in our emergency departments is only the manifestation of the wider problems – and we are now seeing the same problems in other parts of our services as they struggle to cope with capacity and patient demand.”

“It is not sustainable to have solutions that:

*cancel elective procedures. In many of these cases the patient will simply present back in the emergency department and in all cases will add to the already unmanageable waiting lists.

*transfer patients from hospitals to private facilities. Continuing a policy of investing much needed resources into the private system with no corresponding investment in our public system will simply maintain the status quo – it is the same number of patients requiring treatment but we are putting taxpayers’ monies into a private profit based system.”

The IMO said all the problems being experienced centred around capacity:

“capacity with regards to the number of beds in both acute hospitals and the community setting; capacity with respect to the number of medical staff. We need to attract more consultants and capacity in general practice – we must deliver a wider range of services at GP surgeries .

“The unfortunate truth that Government seems to be avoiding, is that all this requires a seismic shift in the way we deliver and fund our health services and that costs money. It would be truly revolutionary to hear the Government saying not only have they decided on the priorities but they are actually going to fund them. As a society we cannot continue to simply give out about our health services, we need to agree on the solutions and agree that these will have to be paid for.”

Meanwhile the trade union Siptu called on health service watchdog HIQA to investigate the overcrowding being experienced in hospital emergency departments.

HIQA said it did not have the power to regulate acute general hospital services and had no enforcement powers.

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Population projections spell trouble for struggling hospitals

Peter Murtagh, Irish Times, Saturday, January 6, 2018,

Capacity problems currently facing hospitals, and evidently defying effective measures to resolve them, can only get far worse, if recent population and life expectancy projections come to pass.

Based on data from the 2016 Census, an Economic and Social Research Institute report, Projections of Demand for Healthcare in Ireland, 2015-2030, published last October postulated a population growth of up to 23 per cent, or 640,000-1.1 million extra people.

All of those people will, by definition, place additional demands on maternity and childcare services, with a proportion of them needing ongoing care. But it is the ageing nature of the population that will place a disproportionately greater burden on services.

The number of people aged 65 and over is expected to grow from its present one in eight to one in six. The number of people aged over 85 will almost double.

Older people’s dependency on support services and greater proneness to illness will probably translate into greater demands for elective operations, such as hip and knee replacements, and on care prompted by other ailments related to age such as oncology care, dementia and respiratory care, circulatory problems related to heart disease and strokes and, ultimately, home help and residential nursing home care.

The ESRI projected that demand for home help and for residential and intermediate care places in nursing homes and other settings would increase by up to 54 per cent.

Demand for public hospital services is projected to increase by up to 37 per cent for inpatient bed days and up to 30 per cent for inpatient cases; and demand for GP visits is projected to increase by up to 27 per cent.

The report’s authors suggested additional demand projected for the years to 2030 will give rise to demand for additional expenditure, capital investment and expanded staffing and will have major implications for capacity planning, workforce planning and training.

In public hospitals, they suggested demand for inpatient bed days would increase by 32-37 per cent by 2030, from 3.27 million in 2015. Demand for inpatient cases is projected to increase by between 24-30 per cent by 2030, from 510,000 in 2015.

Demand for day-patient cases is projected to increase by 23-29 per cent by 2030, from 1.01 million in 2015.

Private trends

Regarding private hospitals, which are often colocated with public hospitals and share staff, demand for inpatient bed days is projected to increase by 28-32 per cent by 2030 from 610,000 in 2015.

Demand for private hospital inpatient cases is projected to increase by 20-25 per cent by 2030, from 130,000 in 2015; and demand for private hospital day-patient cases is projected to increase by 24-28 per cent by 2030 from 460,000 in 2015.

The report projected that demand for GP visits would increase by 20-27 per cent by 2030, from 17.55 million in 2015; and demand for practice nurse visits is projected to increase by 26-32 per cent by 2030, from 5.94 million in 2015.

Demand for long-term and intermediate care places in nursing homes and other settings is projected to increase by 40-54 per cent by 2030, from 29,000 in 2015.

Demand for home help hours is projected to increase by 38-54 per cent by 2030 from 14.3 million in 2015.

Up to 9,000 additional hospital beds needed, review finds

Martin Wall, Sarah Bardon
Last Updated: Saturday, January 6, 2018, 03:00

Between 7,000 and 9,000 additional hospital beds will be required over the next decade or so if the existing model of healthcare continues, the Government’s long-awaited review of capacity requirements has found.

The review has concluded, however, that the number of additional beds needed could be reduced to 2,000-2,500 in the years up to 2030 if Sláintecare reform proposals, such as investing heavily in healthcare services in the community, are implemented.

In addition, the review recommends that a number of hospitals should be established to deal exclusively with elective or non-urgent cases. It argues this would assist in reducing waiting lists and emergency department overcrowding in acute hospitals.

Health service sources said this could involve a reconfiguration of existing services in some parts of the country including potentially closing some emergency departments.

Existing reform plans along these lines in Portlaoise have prompted strong criticism from local politicians and campaign groups in the midlands.

The bed capacity review also calls for dramatic increases in long-term residential places. This would assist in reducing the number of delayed discharge patients in hospitals; those whose acute phase of treatment has concluded, but cannot be sent home or transferred to other healthcare facilities.

The Minister for Health Simon Harris has repeatedly pointed to the forthcoming bed capacity review as the way to deal with the overcrowding and trolley crisis in public hospitals.

Trolley count

Nurses on Friday maintained that more than 2,400 patients had to spend time on trolleys in hospitals in the first few days of 2018 while waiting on a bed.

The number of people deemed to require admission to hospital by a doctor and waiting for a bed fell to 483 on Friday, from record levels of 677 experienced early this week. However doctors and health service administrators forecast that the numbers could rise again in the next week or so as the peak of the flu season hits.

The HSE said on Friday it expected non-urgent elective procedures would not take place in hospitals next week but maintained this would be considered on a hospital-by-hospital basis.

However, the HSE stressed hospital groups and individual hospitals were ensuring that cancer and other urgent elective procedures were continuing to be carried out.

“Other non-urgent elective work will be reviewed on a site by site on a clinically prioritised basis during the course of the next week. We expect that non-urgent elective procedures will not proceed but stress that this will be considered on a site by site prioritised basis.”

Community facilities

The bed capacity review is expected to be published within the next three weeks and will feed into the Government’s overall 10-year capital plan.

The provision of additional hospital beds along the lines of the recommendations in the forthcoming capacity review would cost hundreds of millions of euro.

The Department of Health told the Oireachtas committee on the future of healthcare last year that the construction and capital cost of providing an additional hospital bed was about €325,000.

On this basis it would cost in excess of €800 million to provide the 2,500 additional beds proposed by the capacity review as part of a reformed health service.

Mr Harris told The Irish Times in an interview prior to Christmas that thousands of additional beds in acute hospitals and community facilities would be required in the future and that the forthcoming review would set out specific numbers.

He said on Thursday that significant additional funding would have to be provided by Government to meet the cost of opening additional hospital beds.

Almost 680,000 on public hospital waiting lists, latest figures show

Mark Hilliard

Irish Times Friday, October 6, 2017, 20:55

Almost 680,000 people remain on public hospital waiting lists for various procedures, according to the latest published figures.

By the end of September, outpatients, the largest group of those awaiting treatment, has approached half a million, now at 495,318, figures from the National Treatment Purchase fund show. That compares to 497,300 at the end of August.

There were just over 83,000 existing or active inpatients awaiting treatment while a further 18,423 who had been given first appointment dates are also now among those listed.

Just over 10,000 patients had procedures suspended which can happen for a variety of reasons, whether through voluntary postponement of a previous appointment or because an individual is not well enough to undergo a procedure.

A further 62,874 people are awaiting follow-up appointments having completed initial treatment.

Simon Nugent, chief executive of the Private Hospitals Association, noted a welcome slight reduction of 909 inpatients awaiting treatment.

“Endoscopy waiting lists are up by 682 which is similar to the number of patients to be treated by [the Health] Minister’s endoscopy NTPF initiative announced in the last couple of weeks,” he said in a statement. “It looks like this will just address this one month’s increase. This is worrying.”

Specialist appointments

He also noted that while the out-patient total had dropped by 2,000, the number of those waiting for a specialist appointment for longer than 18 months has gone up by almost 1,500.

“We still need dramatic new thinking to stop tinkering with the numbers at the margin and to see real reductions,” he said. “That’s why the Minister for Health Simon Harris needs to convene an emergency summit bringing all players together to see what approaches could be most effective.”

In its own analysis, the Health Service Executive (HSE) said the number of patients waiting more than five months has fallen by 1,333 from 10,791 in August to 9,458 in September.

The total number of patients on the in-patient and day case list has reduced by 900 in the same month.

 

Fintan O’Toole: The A&E crisis is perfectly acceptable

Fintan O’Toole Saturday, January 13, 2018,

Exactly seven years ago this weekend, The Irish Times reported: “Waiting times for patients attending emergency departments in many hospitals earlier this month were unacceptable, Minister of Health Mary Harney told the Dáil. She said she had discussed plans with the HSE for ensuring that this situation did not recur.”

This week, the Minister for Health Simon Harris used that same word, declaring the current crisis in hospital emergency departments “unacceptable”.

It is a word that returns again and again in almost every discussion of the inadequacies of Ireland’s public hospital system. “Unacceptable” or its variants was used five times, for example, in the 2002 Acute Hospital Bed Capacity report.

In the foreword, the then minister for health, Micheál Martin, wrote of “cancellation of elective admissions, long delays in accident and emergency departments, waiting lists for elective procedures and unacceptably high bed occupancy levels in the major hospitals”.

It is time we admitted that “unacceptable” is a big lie. By definition, if a situation is unacceptable, it does not become an annual event, a kind of grotesque winter festival of suffering that is now as much a part of the calendar as Christmas and New Year.

National emergency

Each year, it is greeted with the same language: unacceptable, intolerable, “bloody awful” (Leo Varadkar, 2015) or even, as Harney declared it in 2006, a “national emergency”. (“People who need to be admitted will have beds, not trolleys, and the basics for human dignity. This will be put in place in the coming months. Anything less than this is not acceptable to the public, not acceptable to me and not acceptable to the HSE.”)

It took an outsider to tell the truth. Tracy Cooper, who came in from Britain to establish the Health Information & Quality Authority, spoke in May 2012, after a patient had died on a trolley, of the “persistent, and generally accepted, tolerance of patients lying on trolleys in corridors for long periods of time”.

‘Generally accepted’ is the honest description of the misery inflicted every winter on vulnerable, sick people. ‘Unacceptable’ is a self-serving pretence

“Generally accepted” is the honest description of the misery inflicted every winter on vulnerable, sick people, most of them elderly. “Unacceptable” is a self-serving pretence.

It sounds good. It suggests that there is a collective public and political shock at the realisation that something “bloody awful” is being done to real people. And it suggests that this will end simply because it must, that all stops are being pulled out, that loins are being girded, that this is the very last time. None of this has ever been true.

Because “unacceptable” is a lie, everything that follows it has to be regarded with extreme scepticism. What follows, invariably, is the firm purpose of amendment – the capacity review, the task force, the promise that this time it’s different.

Harris this week declared that 2018 would be the “year of reform”. Like, presumably, the year of reform that has been announced by every one of his predecessors since the late 1990s.

Acceptable cruelty

The UK home secretary Reginald Maudling got into trouble in 1971 when he spoke of “an acceptable level of violence” in Northern Ireland. But we have to confront the fact that there is an acceptable level of cruelty in the Irish healthcare system. Not acceptable to the patients or their families or the medical staff who are doing their considerable best to alleviate the suffering – but collectively tolerable nonetheless.

It is the price that must be paid if we are to maintain a refusal to create a rational national health service that allocates resources efficiently, effectively and above all fairly.

The underlying problem is not money. Ireland spends about €20 billion a year on healthcare, €8 billion of it on hospitals. This is relatively high, especially if we take into account that we have a young (and thus healthy) population. Per capita, it is about the same as Austria, Sweden, the Netherlands or Germany – all countries that seem to be able to avoid the scale of inbuilt cruelties that Ireland routinely inflicts on patients.

We spend enough on a current annual basis to have a decent healthcare system. (There is an obvious need, of course, for major capital investments.) So why don’t we have one?

There are many reasons, but the core problem is not the money itself. It is the way we raise it and spend it. The headline figures for health expenditure mask something that is quite distinctive about Ireland: the weird mix of public and private spending.

Our fragmented, illogical and inefficient health system is full of perverse incentives for hospitals and consultants to chase private money at the expense of public patients

Only 70 per cent of Irish health spending comes from Government revenues – a figure that has declined drastically since 2000 when it was nearly 80 per cent. The rest comes from private insurance and from out-of-pocket payments to GPs and pharmacists. This creates a fragmented, illogical and inefficient system, full of perverse incentives for hospitals and consultants to chase the private money at the expense of public patients. The private 30 per cent distorts the purposes of the public 70 per cent.

Why do we have this system? The answer is quite bizarre and it goes right back to the 1950s. This was the postwar era in which most European countries were creating national health services. But the Catholic Church and much of the medical establishment was ideologically opposed to the creation of a single, unified NHS in Ireland.

Irish compromise

An Irish compromise was reached – 85 per cent of people would be entitled to free care in public hospitals but the top 15 per cent of earners would buy private insurance, thus guaranteeing the consultants they could still have extra, “private” income and guaranteeing Catholic “voluntary” hospitals that they would not become State entities.

Weirdly, however, this “private” care would be provided in public hospitals. The two-tier system was born. And it got weirder over time: entitlement to public hospital care became universal in the 1990s but at the same time the number of people buying private health insurance rose from the initial 15 per cent to almost 50 per cent.

Nobody thinks this system makes any sense. It has many people paying twice for the same service and many other people being displaced because they can’t afford private insurance. It allocates resources chaotically and in ways that are hard to track, never mind justify.

On the one hand, highly efficient parts of the system, such as local general practice, are starved of resources, pushing patients into the emergency-department nightmare. On the other, highly skilled professionals are incentivised to treat people on the basis of money, not of need.

The absurdities multiply to the point where public hospitals are now putting pressure on patients who have private insurance to declare that they are “private patients” and thus cash cows.

But do we really want to change this system? Do we really want a coherent national health service that spends money where there is greatest need? Do we really want a system that starts by ruling out the “unacceptable” – a regular, predictable and “bloody awful” ritual of suffering – and works back from there?

Doing this would limit the incentives for professionals to chase private patients while drawing public salaries. It would also limit the ability of those private patients to skip ahead of the long queues for elective procedures. It would take away the sense of healthcare as a private commodity and make it a public good.

The annual A&E crisis reveals one brutal truth behind all the rhetorical reassurances: you can’t buy your way off a chair or a trolley and into a public bed. The public emergency departments are the arenas in which all are equal – and equally miserable. This truth waits for us all. The question is whether we want to change it before we have to experience it.

Categories: Uncategorized

Austerity in Education Provision

January 8, 2018 Leave a comment

MINISTER JOE ON JUNKET TO DUBAI TO FIND OUT THE CAUSE OF TEACHER SHORTAGE!!!  SHOCKING CYNICISM BY  EXTREMIST PRO-SUPER-RICH GOVERNMENT

Minister for Education Joe McHugh  hosted a series of townhall-style meetings with Irish teachers based in the United Arab Emirates this summer in a bid to convince many to return home.  Schools say they are facing a “crisis” in the supply of teachers at both primary and second level. It is estimated that upwards of 6,000 Irish teachers are based abroad, with significant numbers in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

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Teachers to strike over ‘unacceptable injustice’ of two-tier pay scales

The Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) has announced a one-day strike in February as part of its campaign to end two-tier pay scales in teaching.

Katherine Donnelly, Irish Independent, November 18 2019 https://wp.me/pKzXa-10P

The timing of the stoppage – the date for which has not been announced – is clearly aimed at pumping up pressure ahead of the general election.

Teachers’ unions will also want to report progress to their annual conferences, which take place at Easter.

The union has 19,000 members in second-level schools, colleges of further and adult education and institutes of technology/technological universities, all of which will affected.

—————————————————————-Great Article by Mick Clifford in Irish Examiner  https://wp.me/pKzXa-10P

Government Policy of Mere Containment Towards Special Needs Children 

Instead of ensuring that all children receive an education, the approach appears to be to CONTAIN the failure to do so by spinning and prevaricating. This policy is most evident in the failure to educate children who have special needs.

The cold fact is that properly resourcing special education needs would not be the most politically advantageous use of resources for (government), irrespective of the case to do so, both morally and in terms of constitutional duty.

Beyond the need for investment there is a lack of political will to prioritise special education in the existing structure. Why at a time of a major school building programme to cater for a bulging population is every school not required to have a unit for special education?

Why are fee paying schools not tackled for their failure to make any provision for special needs education? Rebalancing priorities within the existing system is required but there is little sign of the political will to do so.

In that regard, the policy of containment looks set to continue. It’s a policy that is callous, disingenuous and expedient.

Thousands of children are thus condemned to a life in which they do not receive the basic developmental tools available through a proper education.

Thousands of parents are fated to spend their lives loaded with further stress, worry, and not infrequently exhaustion because of the state’s neglect of their loved one.

As of now there is no sign that the needs of all these people are going to be met.

Full Article,   Michael Clifford, Irish Examiner,Saturday, September 14, 2019

Containment was the name given to US policy during the Cold War to prevent the spread of communism. It consisted largely of arresting, or containing, the spread of communism, particularly in developing countries.

Containment might also best describe the policy of the Irish government to provide an education for all the state’s children.

Instead of ensuring that all children receive an education, the approach appears to be to contain the failure to do so by spinning and prevaricating. This policy is most evident in the failure to educate children who have special needs.

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Hundreds of children – even the Minister for Education doesn’t know the exact figure, or at least claims he doesn’t – didn’t get a school place this month.

For these children, most of whom are on the autism spectrum, the prospect of developing and growing in an appropriate educational environment is receding.

Hundreds, if not thousands, more children with special needs do have a place in a school, but their needs are not being met. If you are, for instance, on the autism spectrum, your educational needs are quite obviously different from those of other children.

To put that in context, imagine for a minute that a number of schools in Cork city decided that they are adopting a policy to refrain from teaching maths.

There would be uproar. Parents would be interviewed on the national airwaves about how their offspring are being discriminated against, how the state is falling them and their families. There would be swift political intervention.

Yet a considerable cohort of children are being denied a basic education simply because their needs are different from those of the majority.

One example of this was provided last Tuesday on RTÉ’s Prime Time. Suzanne McKeever fought long and hard to get a school place for her son Michael.

Eventually, he was accepted in St Paul’s CBS in Dublin, where there is a unit for children with special needs. But attending school doesn’t not necessarily equate to being educated.

“The unit doesn’t have trained staff,” Ms McKeever said, while also praising the teachers.

His teacher has not got training. It’s more like a containment unit. His education needs are not being met, not even close.” The school principal concurred, adding that he gets very little support from the department.

“Children like Michael are being abjectly failed,” Patrick McCormack told the programme.

“It’s like parents are expected to spin a wheel and hope they get a school that has a more developed infrastructure.

“Oftentimes it’s really a more dysfunctional system of containment for children.”

There is a considerable body of evidence to suggest that containment is the de facto policy to address the shortfalls in educating children with special needs.

This week we learned that the Minister for Education Joe McHugh does not know how many children with special needs require an appropriate school placing. There are no official figures for the number of children not receiving the education they require.

In official circles, if you are not officially in possession of information, you can claim to be ignorant of it, and therefore not held responsible for it.

The state knows, for instance, how many children are homeless. Yet it claims not to know how many children are not receiving an education?

One tactic in containing a problem is to minimise it in the public mind.

Last April, Joe McHugh was reported to have stated there were sufficient places to educate all children. Until recently, his department would only acknowledge that there was a problem in the Dublin 15 area.

This week, the Minister accepted there were “acute” shortages in other parts of Dublin and in Cork. This scenario would have evident to anybody who read the Irish Examiner or a number of other media outlets over the last year.

Another element to the provision of special needs education was uncovered in a report published earlier this month by Inclusion Ireland.

It showed that one in four children with disabilities were being subjected to shorter school days, known as “reduced timetables”.

For children with autism, the report found that this applied to one in three children.

As far as statistics are concerned the children on a “reduced timetable” each has a school place. Officially, their needs are being met.

Imagine for a minute that teachers in say, west Clare, backed by their union, decide to shorten the school day because they think they’re worth it. Would anybody put up with that?

Yet, those who have the greatest challenges in integrating and advancing in the world are subjected to such a level of discrimination.

Another area the government references to illustrate a commitment to educating all children is recent changes to the law. The Education (Admissions to Schools) Act 2018 makes provision for the minister to instruct a school to open a special education unit.

However, the provision is contained in a section with ten subsections, each representing a hoop which must be jumped through before the minister can issue his instruction.

Once again, the fine print disputes the impression being given that so much is being done.

The reality is that the government is deploying a policy of containment because it simply does not have the stomach to do what is required to give all children an education.

To do so would, for one thing, require much more resources. For schools to be properly supported with infrastructure and staff, serious investment is needed.

That money would have to come from somewhere. Within government there is a perennial competition for resources.

The cold fact is that properly resourcing special education needs would not be the most politically advantageous use of resources for (government), irrespective of the case to do so, both morally and in terms of constitutional duty.

Beyond the need for investment there is a lack of political will to prioritise special education in the existing structure. Why at a time of a major school building programme to cater for a bulging population is every school not required to have a unit for special education?

Why are fee paying schools not tackled for their failure to make any provision for special needs education? Rebalancing priorities within the existing system is required but there is little sign of the political will to do so.

In that regard, the policy of containment looks set to continue. It’s a policy that is callous, disingenuous and expedient.

Thousands of children are thus condemned to a life in which they do not receive the basic developmental tools available through a proper education.

Thousands of parents are fated to spend their lives loaded with further stress, worry, and not infrequently exhaustion because of the state’s neglect of their loved one.

As of now there is no sign that the needs of all these people are going to be met.

 

 

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Numbers applying for teacher-training courses have “collapsed” by more than 60 per cent over the past five years, new figures show.-Irish Times

No overall problem with teacher supply, insists Department of Education

Austerity in Education   https://wp.me/pKzXa-10P

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Dáil Exchanges between  Seamus Healy TD and Minister Richard Bruton  on Pay and Pension Equality for New Entrant  Teachers and Problems in Teacher Recruitment

“I am again calling on the Minister to put in place real measures, including pay parity and a panel  to deal with this crisis that is not just immediate but is staring us in the face”- Seamus Healy TD

Austerity in Education   https://wp.me/pKzXa-10P

Teachers’ Remuneration   Dáil Report  Feb 1

5. Deputy Seamus Healy Information on Seamus Healy Zoom on Seamus Healy asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton his plans to end the unequal remuneration of new entrants in the teaching profession as a key step in addressing shortages of teaching staff; his further plans to end the teaching shortage; if all such measures have been agreed with the teaching unions concerned; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4981/18]

Deputy Seamus Healy: Information on Seamus Healy Zoom on Seamus Healy All education stakeholders now acknowledge there is an unprecedented crisis in recruitment and retention of teachers. In fact, today at lunchtime, 15,000 members of the Teachers Union of Ireland in schools and colleges throughout the country will protest outside their workplaces demanding a change in Government policy. My question asks the Minister to face up to this crisis and to put effective measures in place to solve the crisis, including the introduction of pay parity for young teachers who commenced employment on or after 1 January 2011.

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton Reduced pay scales for new entrants to the public service were introduced in 2010. I am pleased that, under the Lansdowne Road Agreement, together with the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform I negotiated a programme of pay restoration with the teacher unions. Through this process, a 15% to 22% pay increase was negotiated for new teachers. The agreements to date have restored an estimated 75% of the difference in pay for newer teachers and deliver full equality at later points in the scale. As a result of these changes, the current starting salary of a new teacher is €35,958 and, from 1 October 2020, will be €37,692. This is a very competitive graduate salary, as the CSO reports today have confirmed.

I have successfully hired over 5,000 extra teachers in the last two years. We are hiring more teachers than at any other point in the State’s history.

Any further negotiation on new entrant pay is a cross-sectoral issue, not just an issue for the education sector. The public service stability agreement 2018-20 contains a commitment to consider the issue of newly qualified teacher pay within 12 months of the agreement’s commencement and that process has started. Also, the Public Service Pay and Pensions Act 2017 provides that the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform will lay a report before the Oireachtas on the cost of, and a plan for dealing with, pay equalisation for new entrants within three months of the passing of the Act.

On the issue of teacher supply, the Deputy may wish to note that I have already announced a number of measures to increase the pool of teachers available to schools, in particular to fill short-term vacancies.

Deputy Seamus Healy: Information on Seamus Healy Zoom on Seamus Healy The number of applicants for the postgraduate courses which enable graduates to qualify to become second level teachers has fallen from 2,842 in 2011 to 1,068 last year. That means the number of applicants is now substantially less than half of what it was five years ago – in fact, there has been a collapse of 62% over that period. It is clear that a career as a teacher no longer has the attraction it had even five years ago. Clearly, the combination of salary scale, conditions of service and career prospects are deficient. This is exacerbated by the travesty of paying new entrants at a lower salary scale and providing a pension scheme which is significantly inferior to that enjoyed by their longer-serving colleagues.

Will the Minister, as a first step, equalise the pay scales of new entrants with their colleagues? The Catholic Primary Schools Management Association, which represents 2,800 schools, found that 90% of principals are having difficulties finding qualified or substitute teachers.

Acting Chairman (Deputy Eugene Murphy): Information on Eugene Murphy Zoom on Eugene Murphy Thank you, Deputy.

Deputy Seamus Healy: Information on Seamus Healy Zoom on Seamus Healy A panel is urgently needed to deal with this matter. The situation at third level is also significantly difficult and there has been a 32% increase in student numbers, a 10% reduction in staff and, not surprisingly, lecturing staff have an increased workload over and above their European colleagues.

Acting Chairman (Deputy Eugene Murphy): Information on Eugene Murphy Zoom on Eugene Murphy The time is up. The Deputy will have another minute.

Deputy Seamus Healy: Information on Seamus Healy Zoom on Seamus Healy This is damaging and restricting the contribution of institutes to the country.

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton I assure the Deputy the number of students graduating as teachers is stable. There has been no fall in the number of graduates and what has happened is that we have dramatically increased the level of recruitment.

In terms of graduate supply from the master’s programme referred to by the Deputy, he is right that the number of applicants for that programme has fallen. However, the number graduating from the programme has not. By contrast, the undergraduate programme is massively oversubscribed. There are more than 5,000 seeking to join the undergraduate programme, for which there are only 500 places, and I announced last week that I plan to double the number of places on that undergraduate programme. Of course, that has the advantage in financial terms that a master’s fee does not have to be paid for people going that route. I have also announced that I plan to have quotas for particular subject areas where, as Deputies have pointed out, there is tightness and we need to have ambition, for example, the STEM programme and the foreign languages programme. I am establishing a teachers supply steering group which will work with all of the stakeholders to deliver these programmes. I made immediate changes in terms of the career break and the period that people could work on a career break. I have advised schools that they should not give a career break unless they can, as the circular requires, be assured it is in the best interests of children in the school and that they can fill the position vacated.

Deputy Seamus Healy: Information on Seamus Healy Zoom on Seamus Healy The Minister’s reply reminds me of that old adage: everybody is wrong except my Johnny. The ETBs, the Association of Community and Comprehensive Schools, the joint managerial bodies, the trade unions and everybody else have acknowledged there is a significant crisis in recruitment and retention of teachers and it is getting worse. The suggestion that restricting career breaks would help is not correct and would, in fact, worsen the situation and mean we have teachers emigrating.

We must continue to have the most able people teaching our children. The continuation of current Government policy will do lasting damage to the education system. Bad and all as the situation is now, official documents and official statistics show that, at second level alone, there will be an additional 85,000 students by 2025, which will require an additional 4,000 teachers.

Acting Chairman (Deputy Eugene Murphy): Information on Eugene Murphy Zoom on Eugene Murphy Thank you, Deputy.

Deputy Seamus Healy: Information on Seamus Healy Zoom on Seamus Healy I am again calling on the Minister to put in place real measures, including pay parity and a panel—–

Acting Chairman (Deputy Eugene Murphy): Information on Eugene Murphy Zoom on Eugene Murphy Deputy, please.

Deputy Seamus Healy: Information on Seamus Healy Zoom on Seamus Healy —–to deal with this crisis that is not just immediate but is staring us in the face.

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Ray Silke Criticises Minister Bruton

Salary scale unfair to young teachers

Irish Times: Saturday, February 3, 2018, 00:02

Sir, – Minister for Education Richard Bruton continues his ongoing assertion that the starting rate of pay for a new teacher is a “very competitive salary” (“Salary for new teachers ‘very competitive’, -says Bruton”, February 1st). From the perspective of fairness, integrity and transparency, he needs to clarify his point in saying that “the starting salary for a full-time teacher” is very competitive.

In my experience, very few young teachers get full-time positions for a number of years after qualification and many are teaching in excess of six and seven years and still do not have full hours.

Second, can the Minister please stop mentioning October 2020 as a time when a new teacher’s salary will be “very competitive”?

His reference point is two years and nine months from now, and that projected increase will not pay the rent for newly qualified teachers in the intervening 33 months in such cities as Dublin, Cork, Galway or Limerick. Newly qualified teachers know that buying a house in one of our major cities, or even aspiring to own one, is totally beyond their reach, unless of course the bank of mammy and daddy is well packed.

Finally, could the Minister also disclose the fact that the top of a newly qualified teacher’s salary is €67,025. However, please also mention, in the interest of clarity that it will take them – God willing and with good health – 35 years in their chosen profession to get to the top of their salary scale?

One wonders how many of their classmates from university in different roles who qualify with a degree, and a two-year masters (six years in college normally) at say 25 years of age, will work until they are 60 years of age to get to the top of their salary scale?

The Minster should consider shortening the existing 35-year salary scale rather than trying to encourage retired teachers to come back into the profession. – Yours, etc,

RAY SILKE,

Moycullen, Co Galway.

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Priority  Question from Seamus Healy TD  For Oral Answer at 10.30 AM, Thursday,Feb 1

Priority Question: To Minister For Education, Richard Bruton TD

To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if he will immediately end the unequal remuneration of new entrants to the teaching profession  as a key step in addressing shortages of teaching staff and equality of treatment for teachers and

If he will outline what further measures he is taking to  end the teaching shortage and

If all such measures have been agreed with the teaching unions concerned ,

And if he will make a statement on the matter?

Seamus Healy TD   087-2802199

“All education stakeholders now acknowledge that there is an unprecedented crisis in the recruitment and retention of teachers,” said TUI president Joanne Irwin.

“However, it is regrettable in the extreme, and foolish, that the Government is still refusing to acknowledge or commit to the only guaranteed cure.”

Statement by Teaching Unions and Managerial Bodies Below

But Black Propaganda is the government Response!!!!

A spokeswoman for Minister for Education, Richard Bruton, said more than 5,000 extra teachers have been hired since he was appointed.

The Department of Education and Science noted that the salary of a newly qualified teacher straight out of college in January 2018 will be €35,958.

“This is a very competitive graduate salary,” said the spokeswoman. 

‘Collapse’ in numbers applying for teacher-training courses

Carl O’Brien, Irish Times  Monday, January 8, 2018, 01:00

Numbers applying for teacher-training courses have “collapsed” by more than 60 per cent over the past five years, new figures show.

The dramatic fall-off comes as concern mounts over the educational impact on students of teacher shortages in schools across key subjects.

Surveys and reports compiled by school management organisations and teacher unions – seen by The Irish Times – state that Leaving Cert students in some schools are being left with unqualified tutors for subjects such as maths and Irish for months on end.

At primary level, they note that special needs teachers are being redeployed as class teachers, resulting in reduced access to special education among pupils with additional needs.

In some cases, classes which do not have a full-time teacher are being taught by individuals with no qualifications, who may teach for a maximum of five days, under employment rules.

Substitute teachers

The Catholic Primary Schools Management Association – which represents about 2,800 primary schools – has found that 90 per cent of principals are having difficulties finding qualified or substitute teachers.

At second level, some voluntary secondary schools are now offering accommodation to applicants for key positions.

Shortages of teachers are most acute in subjects such as Irish, maths, European languages and science.

A report compiled by the Education and Training Board Ireland found that just one of four Irish teachers at one of its secondary schools was qualified to teach Irish.

The Association of Community and Comprehensive Schools, which represents 96 community and comprehensive schools, has also found in a survey that many of its schools are engaging unqualified personnel to teach key subjects.

It has found that there were no applicants for key positions, despite advertising and readvertising vacancies.

The Joint Managerial Body, which represents 374 voluntary secondary schools, says there has been “political drift” for too long over what it now a “crisis” facing many secondary schools.

One principal said: “Why is Irish a compulsory subject when it is almost impossible to find a substitute teacher for this subject?”

Schools also report curtailing sports, games and other extra-curricular activities due to shortages.

In response, a spokeswoman for Minister for Education Richard Bruton said more than 5,000 extra teachers have been hired since he was appointed.

“All of these positions have been filled or will be filled very shortly,” said the spokeswoman.

She acknowledged that some schools have reported shortages in recruiting teachers in specific subjects at post primary level.

The spokeswoman added that the Minister was considering a range of measures to resolve pinch points in certain subjects and that announcements on this were due shortly.

Worrying trend

Latest figures on applications for teaching-training courses at second level, in particular, however, show cause for concern.

The majority of applications are processed through the post-graduate applications centre.

The number of applications for these courses has fallen from 2,824 in 2011 to 1,068 last year, a 62 per cent drop.

Teacher unions say the trend is linked to a combination of factors such as difficulties for young teachers accessing full-time permanent posts and lower pay for new entrants.

The high cost of completing a new two-year professional master of education course – which has replaced the old one-year higher diploma – is also seen as a major issue.

The number of graduates has also fallen, down from 1,1116 to 818 over the same period, a drop of almost 30 per cent.

The department, however, noted that the salary of a newly qualified teacher straight out of college in January 2018 will be €35,958.

“This is a very competitive graduate salary,” said the spokeswoman.

© 2018 irishtimes.com


No overall problem with teacher supply, insists Department of Education

Carl O’Brien Irish Times: Monday, January 8, 2018, 19:50

The Department of Education has insisted there is no overall problem with teacher supply but has acknowledged there are “pinch points” across key subjects.

While school managers and teacher unions say there has been a “collapse” in the numbers applying to be teachers, the department says the numbers graduating at primary and post-primary have remained relatively steady.

“Over 5,000 permanent, full-time teachers have been hired since Minister Bruton was appointed, almost 2,400 in primary schools and just over 2,850 in post primary schools,” a department spokeswoman said.

“All of these positions have been filled. There is no overall problem with teacher supply. The official figures support this.”

She said Minister for Education Richard Bruton was committed to addressing pinch points in subjects such as Stem – science, technology, engineering and maths – and foreign languages through measures such as financial incentives.

However, the Teachers Union of Ireland said the “crisis” of teacher recruitment and retention will continue to worsen until the process of pay equalisation for those appointed since 2011 is accelerated.

“All education stakeholders now acknowledge that there is an unprecedented crisis in the recruitment and retention of teachers,” said TUI president Joanne Irwin.

“However, it is regrettable in the extreme, and foolish, that the Government is still refusing to acknowledge or commit to the only guaranteed cure.”

She said even if graduates were to be “lured” to a training course in a certain subject area, there was no guarantee they will end up teaching for any length of time, particularly when they will be “discriminated against from the get-go in terms of pay”.

Expense

Fianna Fáil’s education spokesman Thomas Byrne said a key factor in falling numbers of applications was the expense of a two-year master’s course, which replaced the old one-year higher diploma.

These can cost between €10,000 and €5,000 a year.

“The cost of training keeps increasing and more and more of a burden is put on prospective teachers. We need to examine how we can alleviate the cost, especially in the Stem subjects,” he said.

“The situation simply isn’t sustainable if we want to attract quality recruits to the profession. There is also an issue with the prohibitive skills requirements for perspective teachers and I believe this is something that needs to be addressed.”

Mr Byrne said Fianna Fáil has been pushing for measures to encourage people to apply for teacher training courses, including the restoration of postgraduate grants.

The Department of Education also played down the issue of unqualified and unregistered teachers being used in schools. It said they were employed as substitutes in just 3 per cent of cases.

These figures relate to primary level only. The department does not have up to date information on the number of “out-of-field” teachers at second level who are teaching subjects which they are not qualified for.

School managers say this is turning into a “crisis” and that it is difficult to source qualified teachers in Irish, European languages, maths or science subjects.

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