If you would like to submit a contribution to our Readers Blog section then follow this link. Be sure to include your full name, address and contact number otherwise your submission will not be considered for publication. We will contact you prior to publication.

A most unhealthy state of affairs

THERE is a mote in the eye of HSE chief Brendan Drumm.

What is needed, he says, is not more hospitals, beds or frontline staff, but an accountable, ‘depoliticised’ health system.

Accountability? The CEO, who heads a small politburo of advisers, is the ‘accounting officer’ for a spend of €14 billion. He answers only to a presidium of 12 ministerial appointees and the minister for health. Dáil questions take months instead of days to answer.

Transparency? The 2004 Health Act contains several veils.

‘Confidentiality’ covers “proposals of a commercial nature or tender”. Its definition is a matter for the HSE.

There is also the burqa of “clinical judgment” which prohibits queries relating to patient care and obliges patients to take their complaints to the Medical Council.

No shortages of frontline staff, beds, or hospitals?

Ireland’s stock of acute public hospitals, beds and doctors falls hugely short of international standards, as stacked-up ambulances outside Dublin hospitals and 22,000 cancelled operations, year on year, attest.

HSE’s politically-driven ‘change’ programme will close 40 of our 53 acute public hospitals, radically cutting access to essential hospital services for hundreds of thousands of people.

Patient safety is being sacrificed to medical hubris so that careers, reputations (and money) can be made from esoteric subspecialties in prestigious urban, academic institutions, while other hospitals that have served their communities well for many decades are shut.

As technocratic and corporate interests engulf the social model of health in our elitist, warped and inequitable system, how convenient to be no longer hamstrung by a democratic health system, with its regional boards, public meetings reported by a pesky press, and pestilential politicians.

Marie O’Connor

Health Services Action Group

42 Rathdown Road

Phibsborough

Dublin 7


Lifestyle

Cork teenager Jessie Griffin is launching a new comic-book series about her own life. She tells Donal O’Keeffe about her work as a comic artist, living with Asperger’s, and her life-changing time with the Cork Life CentrePicture perfect way of sharing Jessie’s story

Sorting out Cork people for agesAsk Audrey: The only way to improve air quality in Douglas is to move it upwind from Passage West

The Lighthouse is being hailed as one of the best — and strangest — films of the year. Its director tells Esther McCarthy about casting Robert Pattinson, and why he used 100-year-old lensesGoing against the grain: Robert Eggers talks about making his latest film The Lighthouse

It turns out 40 is no longer the new 30 – a new study says 47 is the age of peak unhappiness. The mid-life crisis is all too real, writes Antoinette Tyrrell.A midlife revolution: A new study says 47 is the age of peak unhappiness

More From The Irish Examiner