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Health scandal: institutional blame or politics as usual? May 16, 2018

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

The cervical cancer scandal is so grim that it has impinged markedly on the political discourse this last week or so, pushing the 8th amendment referendum very much into second place. And this is understandable. For anyone with a shred of empathy or for those who have to have regular medical screening, and many of us are in that position too, hearing the accounts of the women most immediately affected by the scandal there is a sense of the very real and appalling human costs at the centre of this.

Sara Burke’s overview of the systemic aspects of this, from the lack of reinstatement of the HSE board through to “the continuous, often inept, firefighting which means that many of the tricky issues persist despite never-ending taskforces, supplementary budgets and political rhetoric that promises to deal with the crisis of the day.”

And this is a succinct summing-up:

As long as this Government and future governments continue to just plug holes, the ship that is the public health system will keep on sinking. The time has come to stop the reactive politics and political point scoring and revert to the consensus that brought about Sláintecare – a 10-year plan for whole system health reform – that politicians signed up to a year ago.

Because as she also notes:

Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Labour and many Independents have participated in successive governments during the last two decades which have spectacularly avoided much-needed health reform, instead continuing to stagger from crisis to crisis.

It is well worth listening to the Irish Times political podcast from last Wednesday which notes that for all the fury in the Dáil etc on the issue, legislators in the Oireachtas had the option to bring in mandatory reporting in this very Dáil – though honourable exceptions were made for Clare Daly and Mick Wallace for their very careful analysis of this very issue.

All too often blame is spread around as a means of defusing and deflecting an issue. In this instance so many are involved one can only hope that it brings around real change.


1. Daire O'Criodain - May 16, 2018

What impact do people think this will have on the referendum?


WorldbyStorm - May 16, 2018

It’s very difficult to say, isn’t it? I think it will both pull and push people but perhaps not many. I can’t blame people in a way, they’re told again and again something is ‘fixed’, as Joe says below, governments of all stripes, at least the stripes we get in this state, have run from actually doing anything.


2. Joe - May 16, 2018

The government created the sick monster that is our health service. It’s handy for govt and opposition politicians to heap the blame on public servants for the mess. But it ain’t that simple. Governments have run a mile from taking any serious action on the health service for years. They seem to be frozen into inaction on it.


3. Daire O'Criodain - May 16, 2018

Who knows but I’d say two things. The fact of the way women were treated and then patronisingly non-communicated with has to be a spur to women to vote yes as, in some not too vague way, “taking more control” rather than bowing to “wisdom” of elders and better (i.e., men), which is a positive – and even though the hands of government insouciance/complacency/incuriosity at best, incompetence at worst, are all over this scandal, voting “no” seems a crude way of reprimanding that. I’d hope that the only silver lining would be a slight boost to “Yes” but that’s speculation at the level an Irish Times Political Correspondent! So, I shut up now.


WorldbyStorm - May 16, 2018

🙂 but what you’re saying sounds solid. The next poll will be interesting


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