Wednesday 22 November 2017

Medb Ruane: Mary Harney's lasting contribution will be a two-tier health system ... and a monolithic Stalinist-scale HSE

Medb Ruane

The PD conference in 2003 was a (genteelly) rip-roaring affair. Fighting talk spouted from Michael Mc Dowell, Mary Harney, Tim O'Malley and others once known, now forgotten. Health-service reform was near top of their agenda -- especially 'patient-centred healthcare.' Harney began pursuing it when Bertie Ahern made her Minister for Health the following year.

Six years on, Harney's habitual eloquence is falling short of slick phrases to label the scandals raining down on her domain. Tracey Fay's intolerable life and death in care couldn't be massaged away last week. Now, there's the X-ray scandals in Tallaght Hospital.

The numbers involved are bigger than the population of a major Irish town -- imagine neglecting all of Waterford city and county. A total of 57,921 X-rays weren't examined by consultant radiologists.

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