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In the News: The Irish Independent reported on April 8 the number of individuals on hospital waiting lists in Ireland exceeds 658,000 people, a new record. Some people have been waiting more than 18 months for surgery or an outpatient appointment and includes children and young people with deteriorating scoliosis who need spinal surgery. Public health care in Ireland is essentially free and is funded by general taxation. A person may be required to pay a subsidized fee for certain health care received; this depends on income, age, illness or disability. Every person residing in Ireland and visitors who possess a European Health Insurance Card (EU) are entitled to free health maintenance and treatment in public beds. The Independent reported that one patient requiring a double hip replacement had been on the waiting list for a year opted to have the procedure done privately at a cost of E8,000 rather than waiting for perhaps 2 more years to have it completed in the HSE public system. The irony is that the procedure will be performed in the same hospital at a cost of E8,000 of course. Another patient waited almost a year for surgery to remove a life threatening brain tumor. The tumor was diagnosed in Feb 2016 and he was told the tumor could be removed with micro-surgery through the nose. However, during the long wait the tumor doubled in size and the patient now has an 11 and a half inch scar on his head. RTE ran a documentary on the health care scandal in February. The patent with the tumor was called by HSE to schedule the surgery after they were notified that he would appear on the RTE documentary. There does not appear to be a near term solution to the health care melt down.

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