Would Ryanair healthcare really be that bad?

The doctor will see you now.

The doctor will see you now.

During the Lisbon referendum, one of the posters put up by those mysterious foriegn backed No campaigns was “No to Ryanair healthcare”. The phrase stuck in my head. Would Ryanair healthcare be that bad?

I don’t like Ryanair. I like being able to pick my seat, and so pay extra to Aer Lingus for the privilege. But that’s fair enough. That’s my choice. Ryanair, to its credit, does what it says on the tin even if O’Leary is telling you to go f**k yourself at the same time. Supposing we gave him an A&E department to run, with a fee paid by the state per person processed, with bonuses paid for speed and getting them into actual beds in wards as opposed to corridors. The INO would go ballistic, of course, as he’d almost certainly fire them all, but so what? They seem to spend half their time on go slows, work-to-rules, or else planning them. The usual suspects will say that care will suffer, that Ryanair will “cut corners” to make a profit. Yes, they will. The way they cut corners running an airline. But they still run a very complicated organisation, including flying and landing a fleet of modern aircraft safely, all regulated by air safety authorities. It’s not like they’re using TK red lemonade instead of jet fuel to boost their profits, is it?

Where’s the harm? We’ve tried the public sector way, which seems to involve hoofing large amounts of cash at permenently unhappy people. Let’s give O’Leary a single Dublin A&E department and see what he can do. 

7 thoughts on “Would Ryanair healthcare really be that bad?

  1. Ryanair run an extremely efficient business and we can only dream our health service was run that well. The Galway Clinic do a good job of running a hospital, but ideally the entire system needs to be privatised. This would offer best value for money – this would still be “free” healthcare, just the state would pay the private company instead of pumping tax payers money into the HSE.

    The unions would be the biggest issue. Sure even the ESB unions last week were tellings us that we don’t want a Ryanair style service provider, and they were hell bent on not providing us with competition for the past 80 years, but we eventually got some. I can’t blame the unions, they are just another lobby group protecting their members at the tax payers expense.

    On Ryanair, I fly with them all the time, I don’t see any difference to “expensive” airlines, last year I flew 100,000 miles mostly with Delta, Continential and United, but also with Ryanair a few times. I find Ryanair a much better airline to fly with, I get to pick my seat away from kids (try sitting next to sick kid for 6 hours on a €1,300 flight), as seats can’t recline I have more leg room (over 6ft tall), they have an amazing ability of getting everyone on and off a plane in under 10 minutes (Delta 45mins!), they are cheap and you know what to expect.

  2. Excellent stuff. The entire hse should be run by the private sector. Gov puts it out to tender every 5yrs, just like the NCT. The tender would include many rules, targets, etc to be met and high fines and penalities if missed or errors occur.

    This would give the public more control than now. As no one is held accountable, unions continue to hide and protect poor staff who always want more.

    Look at the budget increase for the health service from 2000 – 2008. Each year it went up, and almost all the money went in increase salary to staff, not to improving the service for the public.

  3. Fergal, let me assure you that if anyone attempted to use force to get MOL to run an A&E ward, or you to run the army, I would strongly oppose them.

  4. “I would think the whole point of the exercise would be that the public would know, so that they could choose.”

    What of Mr. O’Leary’s choice? He is surely free to go into the hospital business if he wishes. Are you planning to force him to do so? Will the threat of violence be involved? (I hope so).

    “bear in mind that the public have voted with their feet and wallets as to what they think of the services he provides to the public”

    That wasn’t the question that I asked, but in any case, you refer to the public’s interest in Mr. O’Leary’s excellent-value air service. I run a business too, albeit one only employing myself. The public have voted with their wallets as to what they think of the services I provide to them. Can I have the army please? Where’s the harm?

  5. I would think the whole point of the exercise would be that the public would know, so that they could choose. The public should have a right to attend one of our fine currently publicly run A&E facilities. If they are happy to do so, and happy with the level of service they are getting, then that’s great. As for his lack of interest in public service, bear in mind that the public have voted with their feet and wallets as to what they think of the services he provides to the public.

  6. The persistance of this fantasy is all the more bizarre in light of O’Leary’s continuing lack of interest in public service. Is there any reason at all to believe that he wants any part of this A & E we’re going to generously “give” him? Would the public be told which A & E was being run by him, so that we could have a chance to attend elsewhere?

    “Where’s the harm?” – I quote this statement, made in relation to an emergency medical facility, without comment.

  7. The only problem with this approach is that in order to pursue efficiency and reduce costs Ryanair have grossly simplified the business of running an airline cutting out things they feel you don’t need e.g. they don’t do flight connections even through their own hubs like Dublin or Stanstead. The Ryanair model for health care might be – we will do orthopedics, and paediatrics, but a child with a broken leg needs to be treated as two separate cases (and will be charged for each) 🙂

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