February 7: No excuses, it’s time to take control

Professor Niall Higgins, chairman of Limerick Hospitals Group; Professor Colette Cowan, CEO of Limerick Hospitals Group;  Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar, and Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan at the official opening of the new Critical Care Block, at the University Hospital Limerick recently - but Leader reader David Thompson says its time for Minister Varadkar to cut out the bureaucracy and  deliver on service
In my letter to you in the Limerick Leader of January 17 I asked Minister Varadkar what patients and “on-the-floor” staff had done to deserve third-world experiences in the A & E department here in Limerick under the HSE banner for which we deem him to be responsible.

In my letter to you in the Limerick Leader of January 17 I asked Minister Varadkar what patients and “on-the-floor” staff had done to deserve third-world experiences in the A & E department here in Limerick under the HSE banner for which we deem him to be responsible.

Having learnt more about the Health Act 2004 it appears to have been enacted allowing for complete abdication of any responsibility for anyone involved (including the Minister) in our health service for disasters, delivery, management or an acceptable level of competence.

It is set up with at least three layers of bureaucracy where the last layer can investigate any problems and, if they wish, communicate with the patient. The higher layers do not have to have knowledge of - or a connection with - any of the on-the-floor issues.

Do they care?, Do they want to know? Well judging by the on-the-floor conditions and management performance the answer must be NO. They are happy to allow the non-delivery of a decade of promises to continue as long as they receive their high salaries and generous pensions.

How can the HSE charge about €1,200 for the worst full board in the country (over 10 times more expensive than the best) and then charge for services above this? And then they manage to lose so many millions? This surely proves that the system, the management and efficiency of the HSE is a disaster. It cannot and will not deliver.

It is time for our Minister to stop the waffle and excuses. Take responsibility and control. Cut out all the layers of bureaucracy. Visit the hospitals unannounced for first-hand information. Draw up a simple effective plan and get in a Michael O’Leary type manager who will allocate clear areas of responsibility and deliver a fit-for-purpose health service.

Minister, it is up to you.

David Thompson

Cappamore, Co Limerick