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Meanwhile in Northern Ireland – the Cervical Cancer Vaccine programme is rolled out… November 8, 2008

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economics, Economy, Health, Irish Politics.
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Watching the ad breaks between Channel 4 News I was struck by a short advert which depicted a young woman talking about the HPV Vaccine programme. She had a northern (Irish) accent and spoke about how the vaccine would be available to all girls. You can imagine that in view of the events of the past number of days in relation to cervical cancer vaccination programme cuts in the South I took note. There’s a website she was promoting, it’s called Help Protect Yourself and you’ll find it here.

It’s a swish campaign. Informative, transparent, clearly directed and without any hint of apology or a sense that this is ‘too expensive’, or to put it in the language Turlough O’Sullivan treated to us yesterday in the Irish Times ‘Ireland simply can’t afford the luxury of our public service’. Well, he can because he comes from an income bracket which will cushion the slings and arrows of an economy – which he lauds – that essentially is shifting towards insuring the better off and financial sectors from their mistakes and removing social protections for those who had few enough to begin with. The reality of the social and welfare networks that surround and support the better off in this society, as in others, is entirely striking. The way in which they fight tooth and nail to preserve such networks through tax relief, low taxation on their interests and so forth while preaching to the rest of us is becoming ever more apparent. And, as an aside, his continual use of the term ‘productive sector’ for the private sector as if the public sector, health, education etc are not a motor for generating precisely that productivity and social outcomes that support the private sector in areas which the latter will not touch (ever seen a national comprehensive private education system accessible to all irregardless of income? No? What a surprise) is symptomatic of the new supposedly ‘realist’ language of business media and the political class.

But to return to the central topic, pardon me for finding this utterly ironic. As Mary Harney puts the vaccine on hold in the South women in one portion of this island have the benefits of living in a state which understands the necessity for preventative interventions by the state on health issues. One could point, futilely, to the penny pinching of a government meaning that girls literally living within feet of each other will be faced with radically divergent health outcomes in their lives.

And this will, as ever come back to social class. Those from middle class background and higher income brackets will – entirely naturally – see their parents shell out the €600 for the vaccines, privately. Those not will not. Predictable. Iniquitous. Devoid of any moral or ethical conscience.

What a bunch. And how very telling. I don’t want to go on about this in relation to partition… it’s a gloomy probability that if this were a unitary island state the situation would more closely mirror the Republic of Ireland/Harney stance, but the fact that we don’t (and I write as one living in the southern jurisdiction) often enough look North to see what is happening there in terms of best practice is a terrible failing and indicative of a terrible narrowness of vision. And in this instance at least we have an object lesson as to how to do this right.

It’s difficult for me to express how angry I am about this and what it tells us about our government. But at least I’m not the only one

And here’s a question, does anyone know is any group or formation pushing for some sort of medical economies of scale on an all-island basis or even a strategic partnership between the UK NHS and our own embattled health services, or indeed an all-Europe approach?

Comments»

1. sonofstan - November 9, 2008

And here’s a question, does anyone know is any group or formation pushing for some sort of medical economies of scale on an all-island basis or even a strategic partnership between the UK NHS and our own embattled health services, or indeed an all-Europe approach?

Long a bug bear of mine – since people in the North-West (RoI division), Donegal in particular, seem to end up with the fewest services and the farthest to travel, why on earth Altnagelvin can’t become a hospital for the entire region is beyond me

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2. Wednesday - November 9, 2008

is any group or formation pushing for some sort of medical economies of scale on an all-island basis

It’s a key part of the SF health policy, though I would have thought you’d know that…

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3. WorldbyStorm - November 9, 2008

I should have qualified that a little. I’m thinking of non party political pressure groups.. medical or otherwise.

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