Sinn Féin spokesperson on Addiction, Recovery and Wellbeing Thomas Gould has today called on Minister Frank Feighan to reverse his decision to remove representatives of the International Nurses Society on Addiction (IntNSA) from the National Oversight Committee.
Teachta Gould said:
“The restructuring of the National Oversight Committee (NOC) by Minister Feighan has been nothing short of disastrous.
“Poor communication, improper planning and a lack of transparency has meant that groups feel like they are being removed from the committee and left in the dark as to the reasoning.
“The IntNSA provides a unique clinical perspective and brings on the ground, patient-facing expertise to the table. We need a NOC that brings a wide-ranging and varied group of experts together to hold the government, the Department and the HSE to account on the National Drugs Strategy and its implementation.
“Well-rounded and properly implemented policy should be at the core of the NOC and without diversity, there are serious questions about whether this is possible.
“The treatment of the IntNSA, and other groups, throughout this ridiculous saga is completely disgraceful. There has been no clear communication and the Minister has ignored requests to meet.
“It is time to introduce transparency – the Minister now needs to explain why he removed these groups and why he won’t meet with them.
“I have written to Minister Feighan today and will be putting pressure on him. He cannot, at his own whim and without explanation, make such significant changes to oversight on the National Drugs Strategy.
“We need a Minister who listens to those on the ground and recognises their expertise instead of insulting them.”