Varadkar has questions to answer as Sligo toddler is turned away from heart surgery – Kelleher

Published on: 09 September 2015

Fianna Fáil Health spokesperson Billy Kelleher has said it is becoming increasingly frustrating for the public to see Minister Leo Varadkar acting as a third-party commentator on the health service.

Deputy Kelleher was speaking after a two-year-old girl, whose heart operation was scheduled to take place at Our Lady’s Hospital for Children in Crumlin, was turned away for the surgery due to cutbacks.

“The family at the centre of this latest scandal appear to have been told today that budget cuts were the reason theatres were closed at the hospital and that as a result the operation could not go ahead.  This is just shocking.  It is clear that once again the health budget is in crisis.  Restrictions are being put in place now because August is traditionally a quieter month for the health service.  But that should not hit planned and scheduled operations that families travel for and make special arrangements to accommodate.

“It’s disgraceful that Minister Varadkar continues to act as a by-stander and commentator on the health service instead of showing leadership and tackling the crisis in the health service head on.  According to the Minister himself this was the first year there was a real and credible budget and service plan for the HSE.  Unfortunately the Minister’s spin is not supported by the reality on the ground.

“What happened to this family today is just unacceptable in 2015, particularly given the seriousness of the surgery involved and the rare heart condition that requires urgent attention.  The family deserve an apology from Minister Varadkar and the HSE.  The Minister needs to get to grips with the crisis in health, he’s not an observer, he’s the Minister and he has a responsibility to deliver credible services and budgets that are grounded in reality.”

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