“There is no doubt there are major problems in our health service, of which we are not even aware”, Paddy confirmed to me over a pint, down in Hickey’s Pub, Cathedral Street, Thurles, last night. Paddy was relating to me details of a rather embarrassing incident which had happened to a mate of his, early yesterday morning.
According to Paddy, his mate Mick, a local lorry driver; latter well known as holding a somewhat easy-going, composed and obliging personality, had paid a rather unscheduled visit to a doctor.
Mick had walked into the new Primary Care Centre, located in Carrick-on-Suir. “Sure you know the place”, said Paddy, “Set up under a Public Private Partnership by the European Investment Bank, in yet another attempt to privatise our Irish health service and further promote our existing two tier health system.”
According to Paddy, Mick approached the reception desk and a young lady queried as to his problem. ‘Shingles’, said Mick. The receptionist, knowledgeable enough to know it was not possible to catch shingles from someone else with that condition, then asked him a load of personal questions. She sought his name; his address; his private telephone number and (the all important question), whether or not he held private Medical Insurance. Having received positive answers to all questions, she then invited him to have a seat in the public waiting room.
Some fifteen minutes later a nurse’s aide arrived; calling him by name, she again asked him what was his particular problem?. ‘Shingles’, said Mike. The nurse’s aide measured his height; took details of his weight; asked if he ever had chickenpox in the past and then told him to remain seated in the examination room.
A half hour later a registered nurse came along and asked Mike yet again what was his problem. ‘Shingles’, said Mike. So the nurse took his blood pressure, a blood sample test, gave him an electrocardiogram (ECG), before asking him to remove all his clothing in preparation for a full examination by the doctor; whom would be along shortly.
An hour later the doctor arrived and found Mike sitting patiently, in his birthday suit. He again enquired as to Mike’s problem. ‘Shingles’, said a now somewhat agitated Mike. The doctor asked, ‘Where?’ Mike said, ‘Outside on me truck. I was just wondering where you would like me to unload ’em?.’