The news yesterday that University Hospital Galway is facing a fine of 1.176 million Euro for it’s failure to reduce waiting lists adequately is counter productive and in the long term it may even make things worse for patients. Everyone recognises that drastic action must be taken to reduce waiting lists, but cutting a hospital budget by over a million Euro is not the way to do it. Why not incentivise the hospital so that if it is doing well and reducing its’ waiting lists that it would be rewarded with extra resources or staff, or both. The big stick approach will simply not work, and withdrawing such a huge sum of money from the hospital budget has to affect services to the public in the long run. We need to rethink the policy of fining hospitals in favour of a more creative approach to this problem.
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