Recently Irish comedian Tommy Tiernan appeared on the The Late Late Show. He had the audience in knots of laughter as he comically described how older people were causing western world public health systems to implode. As he explained how the advance in medicine has allowed older people to live richer and healthier lives than the generation that preceded them, he explained that health systems were also being pressured due to higher amounts of people visiting the accident and emergency departments.
But does Tommy Tiernan have a point?
The Health Service Executive is certainly not running as efficiently as it might and this is not news to anyone who has had the pain of being on a waiting list. This was defiantly verified only days after the comedian’s comments when a national headline stated that there were:
9,206 elderly people forced to wait over 24 hours in Emergency Departments
But the Health Service Executive is not the only public system that is under pressure to sustain its workload under current structures. Each of these systems is put in place to support the welfare of the populous within democratic countries like Ireland.
In Ireland anyone who became a permanent member of the Public Service before 2004 was given a retirement age of 65. Since 2013, the minimum retirement age for new entrants to the public service is 66. By 2018 this is rise to the age of 68. Currently many of those retiring at 65 are not receiving a pension for a full year – which quite possibly leaves them in limbo for a means of income until the pension kicks in twelve months later. Judging by this rate of calculation, the current twenty something’s and some thirty something’s won’t be retiring until their seventies and they may not even get a pension when they do retire.
Some day we will all grow old and when we do, we will all want to be as healthy as we can so that we can enjoy the autumn of our lives. Although Tommy Tiernan was only having a laugh, perhaps he’s got a point, especially if we consider the economic structures that are now in place and how they will impact on all our futures when we get to be elderly. Who’ll be laughing then?