Why the HSE has a lot in common with EU

DEMOCRATIC deficit? Lack of transparency and accountability? Disconnection between bureaucrats and public? Yes, the HSE has a lot in common with the EU. Here are some issues that consumers should reflect on.

The Government is closing top-class cancer centres in Dublin, Cork and elsewhere while the centres of excellence continue to be a figment of the bureaucratic imagination. But the Government’s cancer treatment strategy only applies to public money spent in public units. Private clinics can continue to market and supply all cancer services to consumers.

HSE staff and the developers of the co-located private hospitals have been unable to explain to doctors how these small private hospitals can mirror the case mix of the large public hospitals next door and be clinically safe or financially viable.

The new consultants’ contract for the first time abandons the primary duty of care of the doctor to the patient by adding a new duty to the employer. Why does the HSE have a consumer affairs department, but no patient affairs department?

Maybe it is because the HSE wants only a commercial relationship with the public.

After all, a patient has more rights than a consumer, as there is an ethical duty as well as the consumer entitlement. Perhaps it is time we had a referendum on the health reform programme and the HSE.

Dr Christine O’Malley

Nenagh General Hospital

Co Tipperary

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