Back-to-back All-Ireland Ladies Football winner Noelle Healy has hit out at Taoiseach Leo Varadkar for his controversial comments about medical staff.
Varadkar complained about hospitals being short-staffed over the festive period because of frontline workers like consultants and nurses taking annual leave.
Dublin forward Healy, the 2017 Footballer of the Year, works as an anesthesiologist in the ICU department of Blanchardstown Hospital and tweeted the Taoiseach on December 23 that she’d worked three 24-hour shifts in six days, “and two in the last three”.
She asked tongue-in-cheek if it was OK for her to ‘take a day or two off to celebrate Christmas’ with her family.
Three 24 hour shifts in 6 days and 2 in the last three . It cool if I take a day or two off to celebrate Christmas with my fam @campaignforleo ?December 24, 2018
She stood over those comments yesterday.
“I think everybody took a bit of an affront to it,” Healy said of Varadkar’s call for a ‘full whack’ of effort from all hospital staff.
“When you work in the hospital, you see how hard everybody works, selflessly giving up time and hours, staying back, covering shifts, and generally you get very little thanks for the job you do. None of us go into it to get the thanks, we go into it because we’re generally caring people, we like to help people, but I suppose, from your leader, to not get any recognition, and in fact to be told you need to work harder and spend less time with your family... I think it just probably hit the wrong note.
“The health service gets so much (negative) attention and people are working so hard to keep it up and running and then to get a comment like that, especially for frontline services like GPs, who are trying to keep people out of hospital as much as they can.
“I just think it hit the complete wrong tone.”
Healy was speaking at the launch of the Future Proof Media company yesterday, having completed a night shift at work. She said that while some of her Dublin colleagues who work in teaching may be concerned if ‘they haven’t their nap in yet’, she sometimes attends training on an empty stomach.
“I laugh sometimes when people ask: ‘Are you getting enough sleep in?’, and some of the girls who are teachers might say they haven’t got their nap in yet, and I say: ‘I haven’t eaten dinner yet!’” she said.