April 8, 2022
Minister Donnelly’s failure to take charge of Department has squandered opportunity for healthcare reform – David Cullinane TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health David Cullinane TD has criticised the Minister for Health’s absentee leadership over his Department, saying that he has ceded control and the healthcare reform agenda to senior officials.

He said that the Taoiseach’s intervention to pause the appointment of Dr Tony Holohan to a Professorship at Trinity College is a remarkable sign of how the Minister is in the dark and failed to see the reality in front of him.

He added that the Minister has allowed healthcare reform to be gutted with toothless administrative changes instead of real regional reform and that he has failed to deliver a new consultant contract.

Teachta Cullinane said:

“The Minister for Health is clearly not in control of his Department.

“He has failed to take charge and his absentee leadership has led to many blunders.

“The Taoiseach’s intervention to pause Dr Holohan’s appointment is a remarkable sign that the Minister is in the dark and not in charge.

“He failed to see the reality in front of him, and the Taoiseach had to do his job for him.

“What could and should have been an important post for developing public health leadership has been overshadowed by a dodgy appointment process that was clearly not a secondment.

“The Minister’s failures have ceded control and squandered the opportunity for healthcare reform. He has allowed accountability reforms to be gutted.

“Regionalisation has been reduced to administrative changes that keep power at the centre, instead of empowering healthcare leaders across the health system to deliver real change.

“The promises of a lean HSE centre have been put in the bin.

“Negotiations on a new consultant contract have failed miserably and attempts to force doctors into it have backfired.

“Talks are now suspended, there is no movement on a new Chair, and trust is at an all time low across the health professions.

“And to top it all off, the work has not been done to remove private practice from public hospitals or to expand free GP care entitlements.

“The Minister has not been focussed on delivering real reforms or driving change himself. He has handed charge over to senior officials with a different idea to the change that is needed.

“While thousands languish on trolleys every month, and more than a million people are on healthcare waiting lists, we are not getting the accountability that we need.

“Frontline healthcare staff are burnt out and exhausted. They deserve better leadership than this.

“It is time that we had a Minister for Health who can take charge and deliver for workers and patients alike.”

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