Dáil debates

Wednesday, 15 May 2024

Delivering Universal Healthcare: Statements


2:50 pm

Photo of Richard O'DonoghueRichard O'Donoghue (Limerick County, Independent) | Oireachtas source

What we do not have in healthcare in Ireland is accountability. If we want to have proper healthcare, we need accountability. Since I first came to the House I have mentioned UHL. The previous speaker was involved in the appointment of the person who is over UHL. I have sought an investigation into that because of the ongoing crises there. It has been at the top of all the trolley lists for years. If our health system was run like a business, with a person at the top that was accountable, he or she could be fired if he or she did not do his or her job. It does not matter whether the person from the business sector is male or female, once the person is accountable. Their job is to get funding for the medical board, which covers the entire medical sector. If the board gets the funding it looks for and it does not deliver, the members of the board should be removed and others should be put in place to protect people's lives.

That is what should happen, not the situation we had when Aoife Johnston passed away. The person who declared an emergency was asked why they gave the hospital a bad name. Instead of targeting the problem, the person who was looking for help was targeted. The person down the chain, as it were, from the top of the HSE is being targeted and asked why they did that. The person is accused of bringing the cameras and officials in on top of them. We are now blaming the people who ask for help. The management of the hospital are responsible for the hospital and they are responsible for the due care of the people who go to the hospital. We should not target the people who try to help when they are under-resourced and understaffed. When it was a hospital of excellence, it did not take into account the increase in population that would arise and how many counties the hospital would have to serve. We should not target the people who are on the front line. It is management who need to be targeted and held to account and if they do not deliver we should remove them from their position. We should help the nurses, doctors and care assistants who are caring for the people. They should not be targeted if they look for help.


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