Prof. Drumm must be sick, sick that he accepted the job as chief executive of the Health Service Executive (HSE). Sick that he allowed himself to be duped into taking the job of reforming a heath system that has become an uncontrollable monster. Sick to witness the very people responsible for creating that monster; turn on him like a pack of vicious wolves.
For decades, Irish politicians were in charge of the health service and for decades they did what Irish politicians do best, used it as a means of buying votes. It was ‘jobs for the boys’ and to hell with the consequences.
There was a time when there were only two or three health boards but because every politician wanted a board in his area this number mushroomed into eleven. Imagine, eleven health boards to organise health facilities for about three million people.
This meant that there was eleven separate, grotesquely overstaffed, administrations choking the system to death and literally putting lives in danger. When the situation began to get out of control it was decided to abolish all eleven boards and replace them with a single authority that would bring reform, efficiency and, most importantly, a good health service to the Irish people.
To achieve this laudable aim job cuts would have to be made, work practices would have to change; civil servants would have to move, efficiencies would have to be made, some jobs would even have to be lost. In a nutshell, politicians would have to show courageous leadership and civil servants would have to cooperate.
This, of course, never happened. Instead, the cowardly politicians pretended to abolish the boards, it was all done – on paper. Not a single civil servant lost his job, nobody moved, there were no rationalisations or efficiencies. Everybody was still entitled to guaranteed promotions, guaranteed wage rises, guaranteed benchmarking – for life.
In effect, all that happened was the creation of a new twelfth health board. This was the mother of all health boards, it was going to supervise the inefficiencies and incompetence of all the other boards and for that it required and got a super bloated layer of administration staff.
From that moment, the grotesque monster was rampaging out of control and Irish citizens began to suffer even more, and at times, die. But the cowardly politicians had covered themselves well. In a by now common strategy, the HSE and in particular its chief executive was used as a buffer to distance cowardly politicians from the mess they had created. Mary Harney, the alleged Minister for Health, frequently suggests that the latest scandal is a matter for the HSE, nothing to do with her.
It must have been sickening for Prof. Drumm to listen to the wolf pack as they set about their work of abdicating responsibility in our national parliament yesterday; it was certainly vomit inducing for me. Here’s a flavour of what the cowardly incompetents had to say: (Full report on Drivetime, 3rd item)
Labour TD, Joan Burton spoke about the lack of trust that the public and politicians had in the HSE, about how impossible it was for politicians to get answers. No mention of political culpability.
Fianna Fail TD, Mary O’Rourke who has been in politics for decades, who has held several senior positions in government, who is a member of the party that has held power for more years than any other party, who, by dint of her cowardice, is one of the principal architects of the present mess, was ruthless in her condemnation of the HSE and in particular Prof. Drumm.
She related how she had recently left a boring session in the Dail to take a walk down to Brown Thomas. On the way she met eleven women all with horror stories about friends and relations affected by cancer.
Think about that, an Irish politician leaves our national parliament suffering from boredom, meets several distressed citizens and is incapable of making a connection between the two events. She then demonstrates a complete lack of intelligence by using the event to bolster her attack on Prof. Drumm as if it was he, rather than her that was responsible for their distress.
Fine Gael TD, John O’Mahony from Mayo spoke with the typical narrow minded parochialism, the hypocritical ‘but’ factor that Olivia O’Leary (Drivetime) spoke about. “I’m all in favour of centres of excellence” ‘but’ my constituency should keep its facilities.
Labour TD, Liz McManus spoke of the need for the establishment of a patient’s safety authority. Yet another layer of bureaucracy staffed by self serving unaccountable civil servants.
Fianna Fail TD, Margaret Conlon, amazingly, spoke the truth with clarity. “We cannot talk out of both sides of our mouths; we need to ensure that our resources are not spread too widely and too thinly because if this is the case, everyone loses.” Cleary, Ms. Conlon is a new TD and has yet to learn the mafia traditions of her chosen party.
Fianna Fail TD, Beverly Flynn would make an excellent tutor of those mafia traditions. A politician with no reputation to lose, daughter of a disgraced politician who had no scruples about cheating on his taxes and operating illegal offshore accounts, took the same narrow minded and hypocritical view as Fine Gael TD John O’Mahony.
Progressive Democrats TD and Minister for Health (without responsibility), Mary Harney, mouthed the standard and by now insulting apology to the victims.
Mary O’Rourke spoke about a dawn that is always promised but never actually dawns, that she was in despair over the health services.
Why would she be in despair? She exists in the unaccountable, grotesquely overpaid and arrogant world of Irish politics. She, like most of her colleagues, do not have the courage to actually do anything about the situation.
She only encounters reality when she wanders out of the rarefied world of our useless and boring parliament, she will never find herself in the situation of the eleven distressed women she met, she will never have to worry about a lack of medical facilities for herself or her family.
Her dawn and that of her colleagues arrived years ago when they created a system that provides constant sunshine for themselves, family and friends but leaves a large percentage of the people they claim to represent in the shade and some of them – condemned to the ultimate darkness.
Copy of this post to:
Mary Harney, TD
Joan Burton, TD
Mary O’Rourke, TD
John O’Mahony, TD
Liz McManus, TD
Margaret Conlon, TD
Beverly Flynn, TD
Fianna Fail Party
Fine Gael Party
Progressive Democrats Party