A facepalm, as pictured above, pretty accurately describes what I did when I heard the news last night.
Mary Harney, the Irish minister for health, has announced the formation of a committee to look at ways of reducing clinical mistakes in hospitals. This will be a panel of experts who will get together and publish a report in 18 months time, apparently.
Incidentally, there is also a "commission on patient safety" in existence in Ireland, whose role would appear to be the same as that given to this new committee. However, the commission recommended the setting up of this new panel back in July 2008. The minister announced it's formation yesterday. Indeed.
But this was what got me. Harney, in her distress at the interminable suffering over the practice of shoddy medicine by Irish hospital staff, admitted she had no figures for medical errors in Ireland. But she does know that "Medical claims were costing the state 60 million euro every year" and that the aim of the process was to "reduce adverse events in the health service, and to reduce litigation". So, eh.....seeing as you admit to not having any statistics for medical errors (despite setting up 2 expert panels to combat the "problem") how are you going to know if your new committee is having an effect, Ms Harney????
Now, Minister, I'm no economist. And I'm no risk analyst. But, and apologies for the bold capitals, I have a suggestion for you, if you want to reduce medical errors in hospitals..................
STOP MAKING YOUR JUNIOR DOCTORS WORK ILLEGALLY LONG HOURS, AND REVERSE YOUR INSANE PLAN TO TAKE AWAY THE BUDGET FOR THEIR TRAINING IN RESUSCITATION AND BASIC SURGICAL SKILLS.
I'm glad I got that off my chest. I'll be here all week. I'm also available for Barmitzvas and public policy.