Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Health, Billy Kelleher has said that Minister Harris’ arrogance and negligence in not engaging with senior decision makers regarding patient safety at Portlaoise Hospital is unacceptable.

Deputy Kelleher was commenting after it was reported in the media that on numerous occasions the Minister has failed to meet with delegations of clinical staff to discuss ongoing patient safety concerns at the hospital.

“This is a failure on the part of the Minister for Health. If a clinician from the national HSE wants to meet with him to discuss the need for changes and improvements to enhance patient safety, then I firmly believe that he has an absolute responsibility to do so.

“I don’t know whether it is arrogance on the part of the Minister in that he thinks he doesn’t need their counsel, or whether he just wants to ignore or dismiss the concerns. Either way there is no excuse.

“An action plan has been developed by the people with the required expertise and experience. They have consistently requested the Minister to meet with them to chart out how it can be implemented.

“Failure to do this is hampering the necessary improvements being implemented at the hospital. This is not sustainable.

“Minister Harris needs to explain why he hasn’t agreed to these requests for meetings, and must, I believe, arrange such a meeting in the next number of weeks.

“Any further delay risks patient safety. The job of the Minister for Health is to provide funding, and ensure standards in our health system,” concluded Kelleher.