Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Manchester United v. The Consultants

Watching Manchester United last night making a comeback to beat AC Milan 3-2, it struck me that strikers Rooney & Ronaldo are probably earning several times the annual salary of defenders Wes Brown and Patrice Evra. Not only is this state of affairs accepted as entirely logical and normal by the millions who watched the match, but also by Brown and Evra themselves!

I also watched, through my fingers, some of Monday night’s documentary on the Beaumont Hospital neurosurgeon (brain surgeon to you and me) Prof. Ciaran Bolger. I recalled the recent BBC series on the NHS with Gerry Robinson where orthopaedic surgeons doing hip and knee replacements were seen using hammers, literally, to put the new metal joints in place. The contrast in levels of surgical skill and patient risk is quite striking and raises the following question: why would you pay a neurosurgeon the same rate as a consultant performing much more routine procedures?

Surely the Dept of Health and the IHCA should be negotiating on the basis of skill level of the speciality rather than a blanket package where everyone is rewarded at the level of the top discipline? The HSE seems to be paying all our Browns and Evras at the same rate as our Rooneys & Ronaldos. Surely this is financial madness?

Footnote: Aired by Pat Kenny on his Today programme on RTE, yes today.

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