MacSharry: Minister must realise that it’s his responsibility to fix health service

‘Varadkar more content sitting back and giving running commentary, rather than addressing the issues’
‘Lurching from one crisis to the next, all the while telling the public the situation will get worse before it gets better’
‘Fair Deal crisis has escalated to point older people are waiting almost 3 months for a bed in a nursing home, overcrowding has reached levels never seen before and waiting lists have spiralled out of all control.

Sligo News File Online

Senator Marc MacSharry
Senator Marc MacSharry,
Fianna Fail

Fianna Fáil Senator Marc Mac Sharry  has called on the Health Minister to wake up to his responsibilities and take charge of the health system.  The Sligo based Senator made the comments following Minister Leo Varadkar’s latest media appearance, where
he once again gave a running commentary about the problems within the system, without proposing any concrete plans to fix them.

Senator Mac Sharry stated, “It’s becoming ever more obvious that Minister Varadkar is more content sitting back and giving a running commentary on the health service, rather than setting about addressing the issues and finding solutions to fix the problems.

Logo Department of Health

“Since being appointed as Health Minister last summer, Leo Vardakar has found himself lurching from one crisis to the next, all the while telling the public that the situation will get worse before it gets better.  It is completely unacceptable for a Minister to shirk his responsibilities in this way, when he is the very person who can implement the changes needed.

“Under Minister Varadkar’s watch we have seen the Fair Deal crisis escalate to a point whereby older people are waiting almost 3 months for a bed in a nursing home, overcrowding has reached levels never seen before and waiting lists have spiralled out
of all control.  The Minister has blatantly ignored warnings from my party, health unions and the former chairman of the Emergency Department Taskforce Tony O’Connell about the gravity of these situations and has blamed a ‘dysfunctional’ health system for the
deterioration in services.

Speaking during a Fianna Fáil Private Members motion on health in the Seanad, Senator Mac Sharry called on the Minister to come up with more imaginative solutions to deal with the problems facing him.

 He stated, “Minister Varadkar needs to begin thinking outside the box. The government could explore the possibility of abolishing the means test on the Carers’ Allowance, which together with other supports could provide a solution to the inordinate delays in hospital
discharges for ill, elderly and disabled people, while also helping to alleviate the exceptionally high waiting lists for the Fair Deal scheme.  The crisis demands initiative and innovation.  The ‘worse before better’ rhetoric is an abdication of responsibility.

Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar
Minister for Health,
Leo Varadkar

“We need to see less spin and more action from Minister Varadkar.  It is increasingly clear that his main goal is to get to the next General Election without rocking the boat.  This is not an acceptable position; it is a total betrayal of the voters who were promised positive change in the health system”.