Monday 24 October 2016

Michael O'Doherty: I'm not lovin' HSE's baffling decision to enlist Harbison to improve health service

Published 05/09/2016 | 07:15

Lovin’ Dublin founder Niall Harbison
Lovin’ Dublin founder Niall Harbison

The health service swallows up billions of euro each year, yet continues to suffer from bed shortages and interminable waiting lists. Wondering why? Well, consider the following.

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Ahead of a health seminar last June, the HSE approached Niall Harbison, the founder of food-based website Lovin' Dublin. He's also often labelled as a "social media influencer". The HSE wanted to know if he'd be willing to speak at its seminar.

When informed that Niall's usual fee for sharing his prodigious insights was €1,000 the HSE - rather than doing what any sensible person would do and tell him to bugger off - tried to bargain him down. It generously agreed to meet his special "charity rate" of €500.

After the event, HSE chief information officer Richard Corbridge gushed about Harbison's contribution to the nation's health, saying that he had "inspired the audience with his vision for an integrated health system".


Mr Harbison, the founder of a website about the best places to eat and drink in Dublin, is to be commended for his entrepreneurial flair. However, exactly why anyone would pay for his opinions on the health system, least of all the people who are supposed to be running it, is utterly baffling.

Presumably, the HSE, like so many lumbering government bureaucracies, thinks that the easiest way to seem like they are a modern and progressive company is to throw taxpayers' money at someone who looks like he's "down with the kids". Surely it could have spent our money in a better way than this?

Online Editors

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