Wednesday 20 September 2017

Reilly in his own words

Minister for Health James Reilly. Photo: Tony Gavin
Minister for Health James Reilly. Photo: Tony Gavin

James Reilly in his own words:

ON PUBLIC CONFIDENCE IN HEALTH SERVICE REFORM:

"What matters most to Joe Public is that his mother can get into hospital in a timely fashion when she needs to, that her daughter can get that operation when she needs it."

ON HAVING TO DEVELOP A THICK SKIN WHEN HE BECAME HEALTH MINISTER:

"I wouldn't say it was as thick as it is now."

On the new patients' champion in the health service:

"Here's the thing for me as someone who has practised for three decades. I know from anecdotal evidence that when things go wrong, what patients want are three things: they want an acknowledgement that something has gone wrong; they want an apology; and they want an assurance it won't happen again because things are going to change. And that's what this Patient Safety Agency is going to help them achieve."

On the challenges of cutting back spending and reforming at the same time:

"Never waste a good crisis. In other words, it's at the very time of greatest challenge that the greatest opportunities present themselves. So I believe that we can do this. Not alone do I believe it, we are doing it. Can we complete it? I am utterly convinced of it."

On medical card probity:

"I know what probity means, it means taking cards off those who are not entitled to them and making sure that doctors and dentists and pharmacists aren't paid when they shouldn't be paid. And there was no way I could ever see €113m in that. The only way I could see it was through a policy change in relation to the thresholds and that was not a direction I had received from Government, nor one I wanted to receive."

ON WHO CAME UP WITH THE MEDICAL CARD PROBITY FIGURE IN THE BUDGET:

"Well, I'll leave that for others to decide. But let's put it this way: it's very clear that it wasn't the Department of Health and the HSE."

ON THE 'BLACK HOLE' IN THE HEALTH BUDGET:

"What has come out of this budgetary process, difficult and all as it was, is that the myth of a black hole in health is gone. There is no black hole in health anymore. There is, just like any other area, as I have already said, more savings to be made, but they can't be achieved in the short period of time that might be expected in other areas, because we have done so much."

ON COMPLIANCE WITH PAY RATES IN THE WAKE OF THE TOP-UPS CONTROVERSY:

"I believe this is absolutely essential before we go to form hospital groups and trusts. There has to be absolute transparency. When it comes to some of the other organisations in the voluntary sector, if they are in receipt of public funds, over a certain quantum, they have to be compliant again. The taxpayer on one hand and the charitable donor on the other hand has to be reassured the money they are giving is going for the purposes for which it is intended."

Irish Independent

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