We’ve got to the stage that criticising the latest HSE scandal is like kicking a man when he’s down — it’s just too easy, too cruel, and ultimately, it seems pointless. The latest scandal involves undiagnosed cancer cases in Wexford General Hospital. An unpublished review has identified around 12 missed cancers, including one probable avoidable death.
As is usual in these cases, the HSE has apologised immediately and moved to rectify the situation and allay patient and family concerns. And as is usual, the same light-touch sanction will apply — the kind that would be provoked in the private sector will not be even discussed or considered.
Human psychology suggests that unless people, in whatever circumstances, believe they will face meaningful sanction for wrongdoing, then indifference and slipshod standards will prevail. Before the next taoiseach appoints a health minister, one question must be answered in the affirmative: “Are you prepared to fire HSE workers if they are responsible for repeated and life-threatening failures?”
If the answer is no, then another candidate must be found.
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