Is the public health system crisis being ignored?
The British public health service NHS is stretched to its limits every winter but this time doctors and nurses are talking of the worst crisis in decades. More than 50,000 non-urgent operations have been postponed. In Ireland too, according to reports, long waiting lists at casualty departments cost 300 lives per year. But politicians aren't taking the crisis seriously, journalists complain.
Government must not be consumed by Brexit
Prime Minister Theresa May should not underestimate the people's anger over the problems with the public healthcare system, the Independent warns:
“The NHS is fast rising up the voters' list of concerns, according to pollsters. This week's emergency measures will enhance that process. They will affect up to 55,000 people; their families and friends will notice too.The Prime Minister plans a speech on the environment as part of her New Year domestic-policy drive to show the Tories are a 'caring' party. But while climate change, plastic waste and being nice to animals are important, her initiative will cut little ice with voters while the problems in health and social care mount. May should address them head on. What better way to convince us that her Government is not consumed by Brexit?”
Expressions of sympathy aren't enough
Ireland's government must take immediate action to address the state of emergency at hospitals, The Irish Times urges:
“While part of the solution to the crisis in our health services lies in the long term, avoiding taking decisions now simply guarantees a prolongation of suffering for another generation. The Government must commit now to a specific number of additional hospital beds. ... If Minister for Health Simon Harris and his cabinet colleagues truly accept we are facing a meltdown of the health system, it is clear there are firm decisions that can be taken today to protect the citizens of the Republic. Hand-wringing and expressions of sympathy are no longer enough.”