Are income tax rates really too high in Ireland

Purple

Registered User
Messages
12,622
Yes, damn those junior doctors, only working up 90 or 100 hours per week including >24 hour shifts. If only they'd work a bit harder, we could clear all those waiting lists so easily.
Who is suggesting that people should be working harder?
There are structural issues within the health service which causes massive duplication of process which results in massive waste. Lack of labour flexibility means that people can't be moved to different tasks so one area can be under staffed while another is over staffed. This also causes massive waste. That doesn't mean people are slackers.
 

Carnmore

Registered User
Messages
294
Yes, damn those junior doctors, only working up 90 or 100 hours per week including >24 hour shifts. If only they'd work a bit harder, we could clear all those waiting lists so easily.
Irrelevant as well as facetious. If the unionised staff stopped inhibiting service delivery we'd have a much better functioning services
 

RetirementPlan

Registered User
Messages
429
Irrelevant as well as facetious. If the unionised staff stopped inhibiting service delivery we'd have a much better functioning services
Facetious? Moi?

I don't suppose you've come up with any examples of how unionised staff are inhibiting service delivery since the last time I asked you?
 

Purple

Registered User
Messages
12,622
Was just hoping that maybe you had some examples by now, but apparently not
Do you expect other posters to conduct research in order to support their posts on what is a discussion forum?
What posters see is one of the best funded health services in the world with some of the longest waiting list in the developed world.

This is a good overview of the Irish Healthcare system, though it ignored our very young population as a control factor for spending and outcomes and it should be noted that the main sources of information are from within the Irish Healthcare system and State sector.
Overall we are not doing to badly but averages are not such a good indicator as our private system makes them look better than they would if we just measured the public system. It's also worth noting that we are spending over 11% of our GNI on health, way above the EU average.

It is fair to say that our Civil Service is too small. It's about the same size as it was 10 years ago and our population and economy are considerably bigger now than they were then.
 

RetirementPlan

Registered User
Messages
429
Do you expect other posters to conduct research in order to support their posts on what is a discussion forum?
What posters see is one of the best funded health services in the world with some of the longest waiting list in the developed world.

This is a good overview of the Irish Healthcare system, though it ignored our very young population as a control factor for spending and outcomes and it should be noted that the main sources of information are from within the Irish Healthcare system and State sector.
Overall we are not doing to badly but averages are not such a good indicator as our private system makes them look better than they would if we just measured the public system. It's also worth noting that we are spending over 11% of our GNI on health, way above the EU average.

It is fair to say that our Civil Service is too small. It's about the same size as it was 10 years ago and our population and economy are considerably bigger now than they were then.
The specific claim here is about "unionised staff are inhibiting service delivery". I don't expect anyone to do research. I'd expect that before anyone would make a claim like this, they would have information or knowledge on which to base the claim. If this is some kind of gut feeling or act of faith, it really doesn't add much to policy discussions like this.

If union intransigence had one-tenth of the impact that some posters here would suggest, we'd be tripping over ourselves with press reports and PQs and government statements in relation to such issues. I've seen no actual evidence to suggest that this is the case. To me, it seems to be posters relying on 1980s tired old tropes.

If this stuff is happening, let's get the evidence out on the table. If there's no evidence, it's not happening.
 

Bluefin

Registered User
Messages
144
As someone who worked in both union and non union companies my experience has been that change was always very difficult in union companies where non union employees had very little choice (apart from moving to a new employer) but to go along with change..

Members of unions had to be paid off in order to implement change
 

Purple

Registered User
Messages
12,622
The specific claim here is about "unionised staff are inhibiting service delivery". I don't expect anyone to do research. I'd expect that before anyone would make a claim like this, they would have information or knowledge on which to base the claim. If this is some kind of gut feeling or act of faith, it really doesn't add much to policy discussions like this.

If union intransigence had one-tenth of the impact that some posters here would suggest, we'd be tripping over ourselves with press reports and PQs and government statements in relation to such issues. I've seen no actual evidence to suggest that this is the case. To me, it seems to be posters relying on 1980s tired old tropes.

If this stuff is happening, let's get the evidence out on the table. If there's no evidence, it's not happening.
There is certainly an overhang from the 80's in the perception of Unions but at the same time it's very hard to prove a negative and the people who would be doing the examinations would be either in the Unions or gathering data from people who are in the unions.
It hardly needs to be states that there is less labour flexibility in unionised workplaces and that lack of flexibility has a significant impact on productivity.
Here's an example, and I appreciate it's only one example.
When my eldest son was two and a half he was very sick in Tallaght hospital for a few weeks. I stayed there every night, going directly to and from work each day. One evening he spilled a drink on the floor and when I went to wipe it up a nurse said "You can't do that". I went to hand her the blue paper so she could do it and she recoiled (no exaggeration), saying that wasn't her job. She went to the Nurses Station and called a cleaner, staying there for about 10-15 minutes until the cleaner arrived. When she got back to the room with the cleaner I'd already cleaned it up. She gave out to me. So, something that should have taken 20 seconds took up 15 minutes of her time and 15 minutes of the cleaners time. Does anyone seriously think that would happen in a non-unionised environment?
As an aside, a few nights later I heard, from my sons room 20 feet away, a Nurse recalling in graphic detail the oral sex she's given to someone outside a pub/nightclub the previous weekend.
 

ClubMan

Registered User
Messages
45,228
To be fair that incident could be explained by paranoia on account of people suing them because the spillage wasn't dealt with "professionally".

P.S. you didn't get that nurse's number by any chance?
 
Last edited:

Sophrosyne

Registered User
Messages
1,396
Poor experiences that have been repeatedly related to me were mainly:
  • Information not passed on
  • Lack of vigilance
  • Lack of supervision
For instance:
  • A heart patient who could not have aspirin. Information given to A & E clinicians. Not passed on to various ward clinicians. Relatives, frustrated at having to constantly repeat the same information and afraid of what might happen in their absence had to put a sign over the patient’s bed themselves.
  • Patient in her 70s with osteo and rheumatoid arthritis and a leg ulcer, ambulanced to hospital after a fall. Placed in a geriatric ward with minimal medical treatment and no subsequent x-rays after the 1st in A & E. The relatives witnessed a carer drop a sterile dressing on the floor and was about to apply it to the patient’s ulcerated leg. She later contracted MRSA and was moved to an isolation room. The room had a musty smell and was never cleaned. She died shortly afterwards.
  • Relatives visited their father in the evening. There for circa an hour and half. Before leaving one relative went to straighten the bedclothes and discovered a urine bottle. The father was embarrassed to mentioned it. It had been there for an hour before they arrived. He had pressed the bell over his bed several times but said it was very seldom answered. Relatives went to the nursing station to discover the staff nurse and 5 or six other nurses. When they asked why they were in the nurse’s station and not on the wards, they were told they were studying for exams.
  • Son received a telephone from the hospital to inform him that unless he took time off work to feed his mother, who suffered from dementia, during every mealtime, it could not guarantee that she would be fed.
I have usually had good experiences, and I hope these events are not typical, though I have had similar recounted to me often enough.

I’m not sure that these failures have to do with union membership but rather with a combination of inadequate resourcing and poor individual management.
 

Protocol

Registered User
Messages
3,724
Facetious? Moi?

I don't suppose you've come up with any examples of how unionised staff are inhibiting service delivery since the last time I asked you?

Some quick examples from the west of Ireland.

Doctor followed by RTE (Primetime?) doing very little public work.

Doctor in hospital "screaming" at the bed manager/waiting list official, that they won't take any more patients.

Two porters watching Steptoe and Son videos after their boss leaves.
 

RetirementPlan

Registered User
Messages
429
There is certainly an overhang from the 80's in the perception of Unions but at the same time it's very hard to prove a negative and the people who would be doing the examinations would be either in the Unions or gathering data from people who are in the unions.
It hardly needs to be states that there is less labour flexibility in unionised workplaces and that lack of flexibility has a significant impact on productivity.
Here's an example, and I appreciate it's only one example.
When my eldest son was two and a half he was very sick in Tallaght hospital for a few weeks. I stayed there every night, going directly to and from work each day. One evening he spilled a drink on the floor and when I went to wipe it up a nurse said "You can't do that". I went to hand her the blue paper so she could do it and she recoiled (no exaggeration), saying that wasn't her job. She went to the Nurses Station and called a cleaner, staying there for about 10-15 minutes until the cleaner arrived. When she got back to the room with the cleaner I'd already cleaned it up. She gave out to me. So, something that should have taken 20 seconds took up 15 minutes of her time and 15 minutes of the cleaners time. Does anyone seriously think that would happen in a non-unionised environment?
As an aside, a few nights later I heard, from my sons room 20 feet away, a Nurse recalling in graphic detail the oral sex she's given to someone outside a pub/nightclub the previous weekend.

Some quick examples from the west of Ireland.

Doctor followed by RTE (Primetime?) doing very little public work.

Doctor in hospital "screaming" at the bed manager/waiting list official, that they won't take any more patients.

Two porters watching Steptoe and Son videos after their boss leaves.

Maybe it's just me, but anecdotes about poor treatment or strange policies aren't evidence of the health service being strangulated by union intransigence. For a start, anecdotes are anecdotes, and don't give us any kind of reasonable picture of over what is happening with 100,000 staff across the health service. Evidence of poor responses by staff tell us nothing about how the unions work, or don't work. If you want to show that the health service is strangled by union intransigence, you'd need to be showing that management are working to fix or improve these issues and are being actively prevented from implementing sensible fixes by trade unions. This would be coming out of WRC cases or Labour Court discussions, and the press would be only too delighted to amplify such instances. But I haven't seen such cases coming through or being reporting recently. There was one case about 15 years ago around changing of light bulbs, which on the face of it, seemed to indicate a degree of union intransigence. Is there any evidence that kind of thing is happening on an ongoing basis?
Poor experiences that have been repeatedly related to me were mainly:
  • Information not passed on
  • Lack of vigilance
  • Lack of supervision
For instance:
  • A heart patient who could not have aspirin. Information given to A & E clinicians. Not passed on to various ward clinicians. Relatives, frustrated at having to constantly repeat the same information and afraid of what might happen in their absence had to put a sign over the patient’s bed themselves.
  • Patient in her 70s with osteo and rheumatoid arthritis and a leg ulcer, ambulanced to hospital after a fall. Placed in a geriatric ward with minimal medical treatment and no subsequent x-rays after the 1st in A & E. The relatives witnessed a carer drop a sterile dressing on the floor and was about to apply it to the patient’s ulcerated leg. She later contracted MRSA and was moved to an isolation room. The room had a musty smell and was never cleaned. She died shortly afterwards.
  • Relatives visited their father in the evening. There for circa an hour and half. Before leaving one relative went to straighten the bedclothes and discovered a urine bottle. The father was embarrassed to mentioned it. It had been there for an hour before they arrived. He had pressed the bell over his bed several times but said it was very seldom answered. Relatives went to the nursing station to discover the staff nurse and 5 or six other nurses. When they asked why they were in the nurse’s station and not on the wards, they were told they were studying for exams.
  • Son received a telephone from the hospital to inform him that unless he took time off work to feed his mother, who suffered from dementia, during every mealtime, it could not guarantee that she would be fed.
I have usually had good experiences, and I hope these events are not typical, though I have had similar recounted to me often enough.

I’m not sure that these failures have to do with union membership but rather with a combination of inadequate resourcing and poor individual management.
That's really my point - what's all this got to do with union intransigence?
 

Protocol

Registered User
Messages
3,724
More examples:

(1) A consultant stated that he gets four times as many procedures done in the private hosp compared to a public hosp. This quote was in the public domain.

Now, I suspect a certain amount of hyberbole, but I'm sure there is some truth to that.

Output per day is bound to be higher.

(2) I spoke to a HR manager in a large private hosp, tells me scans/MRI/imaging continues until 2am. I asked are there really patients going in after midnight for scans? Yes.

But not in the HSE hosp.


(3) Staff in Sligo endoscopy unit confirmed to me that they often have excess staff, as the number of staff isn't matched to the volume of patients on the list.


I accept that unions may not be involved in all these issues.

However, I contend that is all hosps were run on the basis of "money follows the patient" / UHI, I feel output would be higher.
 

Sophrosyne

Registered User
Messages
1,396
That's really my point - what's all this got to do with union intransigence?
Yes, I agree that these are individual failures caused by managerial shortcomings and/or a lack of adequate or appropriate resources and personnel.

Blaming unions is often a bum steer to mask a multitude of sins, such as the hospital plan from hell.

I don’t think that comparing public and private hospitals is particularly relevant as they don’t act in the same framework.

The fact that Ireland is a high-cost economy probably has the greatest material bearing on healthcare costs.
 

odyssey06

Registered User
Messages
3,806
Yes, I agree that these are individual failures caused by managerial shortcomings and/or a lack of adequate or appropriate resources and personnel.

Blaming unions is often a bum steer to mask a multitude of sins, such as the hospital plan from hell.

I don’t think that comparing public and private hospitals is particularly relevant as they don’t act in the same framework.

The fact that Ireland is a high-cost economy probably has the greatest material bearing on healthcare costs.
It's not just individual failures, it's a pattern and why do they occur more often there. It's because of a lack of accountability.
What do you think would happen to the manager who tried to make those individuals accountable and tried to drive efficiency and flexibility over rigid separation of duties?
 

Purple

Registered User
Messages
12,622
The fact that Ireland is a high-cost economy probably has the greatest material bearing on healthcare costs.
Figures on spending are adjusted for purchasing power parity. What people get paid isn't the issue. We should be asking the question "In a optimally structured healthcare system would the task the individual is doing be necessary?".
 

Carnmore

Registered User
Messages
294
Doctor followed by RTE (Primetime?) doing very little public work.
Yes, an ophthalmologist averaging of 13 out of 39 contracted HSE hours per week over a three month period.

Straightforward theft of public money and dereliction of duty- they should have been criminally charged, prosecuted and struck off the medical register but it doesn't work like that in Ireland.

Liveline was inundated with calls the day after the programme was broadcast but a positively muted response from the presenter - none of the usual hyperbole "gurrier" type guff.
 
Top