Wednesday 23 August 2017

Sara Burke: Why money can cure all ills in HSE if used wisely

Members of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO), protest outside Leinster House earlier this year, as part of its ‘Campaign for Excellence’ in intellectual disability services. Photo: RollingNews.ie
Members of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO), protest outside Leinster House earlier this year, as part of its ‘Campaign for Excellence’ in intellectual disability services. Photo: RollingNews.ie
Sara Burke

Sara Burke

This week, there were more health headlines, emanating from a frank interview with HSE chief Tony O'Brien, the deferral of the INMO nurses' strike action in emergency departments and the publication of the HSE 2016 service plan.

Tony O'Brien spoke about how the Government's plan to abolish the HSE resulted in "the absence of a clear timeline and road map" for the health system that made running it "challenging" and the political failure to produce "a systematic and realistic funding formula". In other words, this Government under-funded health.

O'Brien is right on both counts. Five years ago, Fine Gael touted the populist pre-election ploy of abolishing the HSE without any explanation as to what would happen the millions of citizens cared for by 100,000 staff in a post-HSE world. The grand plan to eliminate the HSE was maintained until Leo Varadkar became Minister for Health and admitted that abolishing it in the near future was not realistic.

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