Wednesday 7 November 2007

What does it take...

In Britain, David Blunkett resigned because he gave taxpayer-funded railway tickets worth £179 to his girlfriend when the tickets were reserved for spouses only. He had already repaid the money yet he still resigned. A Minister in Norway resigned after 10 days in office because it emerged that she had paid her childminder under the table. In Holland, a Minister recently resigned because he forgot his wife's birthday (this one may not be true).

What does it take for an Irish government minister to admit that the buck stops with them? They don't even have to resign or admit they made an almighty cock up, just reassure us, the voters, that they know they are expected to be responsible for what goes on in their particular department in return for all that money they receive each month, .

On Prime Time last night, while being questioned about the latest cancer screening farce, Minister for Health, Mary Harney, tried to apportion blame on everybody but herself. She pointed her pudgy digits at the radiographer, said she didn't know if the machine was faulty or not and stopped just short of calling for the public lynching of an individual who turned down a second radiographer position in Portlaoise hospital.

It may not have been Mary Harney who incorrectly analysed the mammograms but as Minister for Health she should be on top of what is happening in her department - or the major issues at least. Nobody expects her to know that the stock of blue pens is running low in Tallaght Hospital anymore than she would be expected to whizz down to Tralee General Hospital in the goverment jet when a lightbulb needs changing. She should however, be expected to keep on top of the bigger issues. She should know that:

  • the machine used to perform mammograms has an expected shelf life of 10 years.
  • the machine in use in Portlaoise is 15 years old.
  • the radiography department in Portlaoise had expressed concerns about the reliability of the machine to the hospital's board of management.
  • there was no double reading of mammograms at the hospital because there was only one radiographer (damn that individual who turned the job down).
Doesn't that make her somewhat responsible? Yes, yes Mary - we know you have created a nice, comfy, HSE-shaped buffer to take most of the flack. We know you were hoping to bury your head in the sand and wait until this blows over but we would have more respect for you if you got up off your arse and actually took some real action - i.e. something other than commissioning a report or internal investigation.

Mary Harney stated that the circumstances which led to the death of Susie Long were "unacceptable" to her. Did she not know about Susie Long's situation or did she know and just decide she didn't care?

Does she not feel even a teeny-weeny bit of responsibility for any of this?


Grandad said...

I watched that interview, and it's a wonder the television survived! I was flinging things all around the room.

That fat cow has spent the last years telling us what a fantastic health service we are going to have. Jam tomorrow, but never today. Not to mention the billions she has wasted in the process.

She will never get off her arse, as I doubt she could take the weight.


Great start to the blog, BTW! You are on my feed ;)

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