Fine Gael TD Joe McHugh has said that the current Government faces a major task in reforming health services, which he says were driven into the ground by successive Fianna Fáil Ministers for Health, including present-day FF Leader Micheál Martin.
The Donegal deputy said Mr Martin, who established the HSE, spent €16.77m of taxpayers’ money on Reports while Minister for Health from 2000-2004.
Speaking in the Dáil on a Fianna Fáil motion that criticised the current Government’s record on health, Deputy McHugh said: “Fianna Fáil is trying to disassociate itself from its past. But the past is always relevant to the present.
“This is the case on an individual basis in one’s own life, and it is also the case in governance. While he was Minister for Health from 2000-2004, Fianna Fáil’s current boss man, Deputy Martin, spent €16,777,994 of taxpayers’ money on reports, including, most ironically, a Value-for-Money audit of Irish health services that cost taxpayers €616,000.
“As Minister for Health Deputy Martin also established the HSE, which is a bureaucratic nightmare for patients and health workers. It falls to this Government to clean up this mess that Fianna Fáil has burdened on the country”
The Donegal TD went on: “In establishing the HSE, Fianna Fáil created a monster that is a nightmare for patients and for healthcare workers. Local responsibility and local decision-making has been taken away from people.
“For example, as recently as last Friday, Members of HSE West met in Galway to discuss a service plan for a dreamed-up region stretching from Malin Head to the Tipperary border.
“After two hours of that meeting had elapsed, no progress had been made, and it was suggested that Members should break into smaller groups based on geography, so that issues could be discussed that are relevant to Members’ local areas.
“That was a sensible suggestion, which basically acknowledges the value of the old health boards, in which there was local responsibility and local decision-making. Fianna Fáil’s creation of the HSE monster took all that away from people and communities.
“Fianna Fáil representatives appear to have complete amnesia now about how their Party and its current Leader actually created the problems that are causing so much difficulty for patients and healthcare workers. Fine Gael in Government is working to build health services that are more accessible and fairer for people.”