Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Health Billy Kelleher has accused the Government of failing patients by not establishing the long-promised Patient Safety Authority.
Deputy Kelleher commented: “Not only was a new Patient Safety Authority promised in the Programme for Government, in 2012 then Health Minister James Reilly promised that a new patient safety agency would be established on an administrative basis in 2013. However this was clearly a watering down of the Programme for Government commitment as it would not have incorporated HIQA in the new structure.
“In any case the Patient Safety Agency was not established in 2013. Nor was it established in 2014 despite the Taoiseach telling the Dáil in February 2014 that Minister Reilly had directed ‘that a new patient safety agency would be established this year’.
“Newspaper reports today indicate that not only was no progress made last year, things actually went backward with the Director General of the HSE telling the Secretary General of the Department of Health that as far as the 2015 HSE Service Plan went, his organisation had “been requested not to specifically reference progression of the Patient Safety Agency (or as per my more recent correspondence Patient Advocacy Agency) in the service plan”.
“In other words the HSE had been actually requested by the Department of Health to break commitments made in both the 2011 Programme for Government and in the 2012 Future Health framework. The request clearly came from Minister Varadkar.
“This is truly shocking and absolutely deplorable. Bear in mind that this request would have been made some months after the Prime Time exposé of maternity care and a year after the HIQA report into Savita Halappanavar’s death. Minister Varadkar stopped it on the basis that the agency should not be a part of the HSE. This is absurd. There is no reason that a patient safety agency could not have been advanced irrespective of whether it was part of the HSE. In any case doesn’t the government want to abolish the HSE?
“Now it seems that there will be another year at least to wait until a patient advocacy body is set up. It’s yet another broken health promise by the government and the latest in a long list of missed deadlines.”