Thursday 14 December 2017

Editorial: Reform health or go

Minister for Health James Reilly
Minister for Health James Reilly

LEST the Coalition sleep too easily it would do well to realise it faces an immediate serious test of its capacity for responsible government. Our political establishment has been far too quick to award itself a free pass when it comes to the 'modest proposal' in civilised countries at least, of organising a functioning health service. In fairness, the great task of reform has managed to even baffle the Troika. But, outside of noting that they surely had less of a stake in the country than we, who actually live here, is it so impossible that modern politics cannot generate a new Donagh O'Malley.

So far, the omens are not good. The CRC debacle vividly illustrated that many of the problems within health are the litter of history. But, the mere fact that the landmines that have been strewn across the health battlefield with such gay abandon are creatures of the past will not save the present minister from the consequences of his increasingly ragged control of his department. As we move out of bailout politics, the Coalition's long-term political health will increasingly be determined by such domestic matters as the health of our health service. It is time for the Health Minister, or his Taoiseach, to take control of the service sooner rather than later or the minister will have to go . . . and sooner rather than later.

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