27 September 2008

Harney says HSE cares 'for a Majority'

The Minister for Health, Mary Harney (photo), has said that "the vast majority of cancer patients have nothing to fear from the health service".

Now, that is a really reassuring statement, isn't it? And it leads to three questions:
1) How large is a 'vast majority' in the definition of Ms. Harney?
2) How many Irish people do not belong to this 'vast majority'?
3) And what is it they have to fear from the health service?

Should the health service not care for all people in the country? After all, everyone pays taxes and is supposed to have the same rights. But well, in Harney's PD world of a privatised and American-style Ireland the poor are marginalised and forgotten. They have a lot to fear from the two-tier health service she created.
And when it comes to numbers, well, I am not so sure that it is not the other way round, that in reality the majority of Irish people are suffering, while the rich and famous get first class service.

Speaking at a conference on breast cancer in Dublin, the Minister said that the greatest reassurance she could give women was that the State was putting a designated service in place to improve breast cancer treatment.

She forgot to mention that most of the new health facilities put in place under her reign are private enterprises and thus only available for the rich that get sick.

At the same conference Christine Murphy-Whyte from the breast cancer charity Europa Donna Ireland said that recent revelations about breast cancer services highlighted the urgent need for specialised breast centres to be resourced.

Nice thought, and a very valuable point. But with money running out fast after all the years of riches and mismanagement, who is going to finance such specialised centres?
If they are established, they will once again be private and for the rich only.

The conference was also addressed by Professor Tom Keane, the HSE's cancer strategy director. He had been due to appear on last night's Late Late Show (on RTÉ 1 television), but pulled out of the broadcast at the last minute without giving an explanation.

Perhaps he was told to do so by his superiors, in order not to embarrass the HSE any further. Their blunder in the field of breast cancer is only one of the many dark blots on their sad performance record. Yesterday the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) called the HSE "incompetent and acting irresponsibly".

The Emerald Islander

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