The HSE gets the blame for almost everything round here. Unfairly IMO. I'm a long long time working on the frontline in Irish hospitals. There have been great improvements in recent years in standards of services and care provided due to the HSE I believe, evidence based best practice being the mantra.
According to the 2009 and 2012 Euro Health Consumer Index, the country's health service is currently ranked 13th out of 33 European health services, ahead of Germany.
This marks a significant improvement since the survey in 2006, when Ireland was listed in 28th place out of 29 nations included.
The Executive was established by the Health Act, 2004 and came into official operation on 1 January 2005. It replaced the ten regional Health Boards, the Eastern Regional Health Authority and a number of other different agencies and organisations. Remember them? You know, when it was who you knew from whichever political party that could bump you up a waiting list.
So Michael Martin, as Minister for Health from 2000-2004, introduced a ban on tobacco smoking, disbanded the health boards and established the HSE, and in particular oversaw serious steps to improve cancer and cardiac services, with e.g. delivery of the first National Cancer Strategy.
As CEO, Professor Drumm (at the time Head of the Department of Paediatrics at University College Dublin and Consultant Paediatric Gastroenterologist at Our Lady's Children¿s Hospital in Dublin) led the largest public service Transformation Programme ever undertaken in Ireland.
Now it hasn't been easy and certainly has it's flaws. I'm not suggesting that the HSE is perfect but I am suggesting as a model, it can work in this country when there is a separation of power between the Government of the day and the body that is responsible for the delivery of health services. Had politicians continued to drive the health service before the establishment of the HSE, we'd continue to have a hospital in every town, with inefficient and fractured services. Not e.g. Centres of Excellence for Cancer Care where an abnormal CXR or breast lump can get you an appointment in a rapid access clinic within two to four weeks.
The failure to ensure a sod has been turned on a NCH is a political failure and a great injustice for this States children.
Moving on to Minister Reilly. The independent HSE board asked to step down, his own chaps replacing them from the HSE and DOH. Then there's the the Health Service Executive Governance Bill. It will enable the Department of Health to have control of the entire health budget from January 2014 onwards. Where to start? I've posted a link to a blog by journalist, broadcaster & policy analyst Sara Burke which makes for serious food for thought regard this Bill.
In financial perilous times such as these, maintaining services are challenging. And the last twelve months have been most difficult as many services have been stretched to breaking point. Perhaps now we should, as a Nation, be discussing exactly what form of health service do we see in the future. Private? Mix of public/private? An NHS style? Everyone equal? You get what you pay for? No sign of the promised White paper on Universal Health Care while we appear to be heading towards a U.S. style system.
Lastly, I'm not a member of any PP, would be known on this site to promote Green policies.
Just more jobs for the boys | SaraBurke.com
Euro health consumer index - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Aviva - Irish healthcare system shows major improvement
HSE.ie - Health Service Executive Website -
The devil without the details | SaraBurke.com
Health Service Executive (Governance) Bill 2012
HSE terminates funding for patient group - Health News | Irish Medical News | The Irish Times - Sat, Apr 27, 2013
Childcare cases taken by HSE increased by 20 per cent last year, data shows - Crime & Law News from Ireland & Abroad | The Irish Times - Mon, Apr 15, 2013
Report shows HSE failures in child protection - RTÉ News
HSE to review Midleton ambulance response - RTÉ News
Another HSE scandal - Will this madness ever end? | Irish Examiner