Tuesday, 8 October 2019
An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business
I know that today is all about the Budget Statement. I wish to review an issue I first raised as a Commencement matter in June 2016, a couple of months after my election to the Seanad, namely, the recruitment of a specialist in sarcoma at St. Vincent's Hospital, Dublin. We had a wonderful Italian consultant and the patients, many of whom have passed away, and their families were delighted with her. There were some shenanigans, however, and in fairness to the Minister for Health, Deputy Harris, he met a group of families and gave a guarantee that the consultant would be replaced. Following an interview process, the group was told that a person had been chosen. Obviously, it was not the Italian consultant who had left the country. Another individual was offered the post two and a half years ago. In the past couple of days, it has been revealed that the individual has now turned down the position. A sarcoma specialist is very much needed and one was promised in the overall cancer strategy. The post may have been reopened. The authorities should have known that the recruitment of the specialist would not become a reality if it took two and a half years for an individual to respond to being chosen for the post. I have submitted a Commencement matter on this issue and I hope it will be chosen for discussion in order that I can ask the Minister about his plans. We have lost many patients with sarcoma during the period in question and others are very anxious to find a way forward in a constructive manner. I suppose I could be compared to a dog with a bone as I will not let go of this issue. On reflection, given that the Taoiseach has referred to me and others as wolves, my retort is: beware the waxing gibbous moon; beware the rising of the moon.