Fianna Fáil Health Spokesperson Billy Kelleher has commended the honesty and candour of the HSE director-general Tony O’Brien who he says has “lifted the lid and exposed the true realities of the health service under this Government.”

Deputy Kelleher was responding to today’s Sunday Business Post exclusive report ‘Inside the HSE’, by Health Editor Susan Mitchell.

Deputy Kelleher commented: “Mr. O’Brien’s candid approach lays out the reality on the ground and the situation facing management in the health service.  The fact that we still have no clear vision, plan or credible budgeting for the health service after five years and two ministers under Fine Gael and Labour is really quite extraordinary.  In fact the only thing Fine Gael have successfully managed to do over the last five years is to completely abandon their own health strategy – having found it to be completely unrealistic and unaffordable.

“After five years of bogus budgets, unrealistic targets and dwindling services morale in the health service is at an all-time low, alongside public trust and confidence.  Minister Varadkar is detached from the reality facing the health service and seems to be more interested in surviving the department of health that running it.

“The closest thing Minister Varadkar has produced in the form of a vision for the health service was to announce that he wanted to get to a stage where we would outsource underperforming hospitals to the private sector, an astonishing and worrying prospect.  But the fact that Fine Gael has ditched its own health plan from five years ago speaks volumes about how much they can be trusted with the future of our health service.

“I believe there is a yearning among the public and patients depending on the health service to restore a sense of safety and dignity to frontline care.  There is no real plan from Fine Gael to deliver this.  Instead they have spent five years undermining the health service and we’re living with the realities of this now.

“This week our exasperated nurses are preparing to take industrial action in another attempt to demonstrate to the government how intolerable the Emergency Department crisis has become.  We need a new deal for the health service, a comprehensive vision with community care as a major component of our plans and multi-annual budget certainty for our health service managers.  I don’t believe this is beyond the capabilities our political system to deliver if the will and leadership is demonstrated.”