A select committee of senior civil servants from Health, Finance, and the Department of the Taoiseach has sent proposals to government aimed at reducing the numbers of patients waiting on trolleys, free-up beds and reduce hospital operating costs.
One suggestion is the introduction of long-stay charges for patients who occupy trolleys for more than six hours.
Patients who spend more than six hours on a trolley will be forced to pay €100 on the sixth hour and €50 per hour thereafter. To reduce instances of non-payment a credit card swipe on admittance will be required.
Meanwhile in Ireland News has seen a leaked copy of the report which contains not only the above but also the following proposals.
In another move to make money, nurses and orderlies will be encouraged to promote the sale of scratch-cards, sandwiches and beverages in the corridors.
The public will be offered the opportunity to purchase priority admittance stamps. Priority treatment will be available to those with the greatest collection of pre-paid stamps.
Stamps — like those currently used to prepay television licence fees — will be on sale at post offices.
In a move designed to reduce staffing levels personal computers will be installed in all casualty departments and patients encouraged to Google their symptoms and suggest suitable treatments when eventually seen by medical staff.
Ward Overflow Areas (former corridors) will be given names i.e. St Joseph’s Overflow Ward 2b an immediate reduction in the reported “patients on trolleys in corridors” figures published daily in the press is hoped for.
The latest medical research available reveals that a significant number of hospitalised patients are not acutely aware of their surroundings. In light of these findings, patients presenting with signs of comatose, unconsciousness and or senile dementia be assigned to trolleys.
Ward beds can then be allocated to the more aware patients who research has found are more likely to complain.
As these moves are likely to instigate a moderate to high level of public outrage it is expected that all official press releases announcing the changes will contain the following phrases and key-words “caring society,” “going forward,” “in an attempt to boost staff morale,” “significant improvements,” and of course “a new approach.”
A Department of Health spokesperson was unavailable for comment.