The Minister for Health is failing to show any leadership in the crisis facing hospitals across the country as hundreds of patients are waiting on trolleys and the situation worsens every week, according to Fianna Fáil Health Spokesperson Billy Kelleher.
Deputy Kelleher was responding to email correspondence released to the media demonstrating that while records were broken, the Minister was emailing concern.
Deputy Kelleher said: “What’s most worrying about this email correspondence is the extent to which the Minister has become a passenger in this crisis. Instead of leading his officials and the HSE and trying to steer the health service through this difficulty Minister Varadkar seems to be merely checking in, expressing frustration and laying a handy paper trail to point to when things become politically awkward for him.
“I and others have been pointing out for months for that the health budget for last year was unrealistic. In fact I raised serious concerns last month when it emerged the HSE had used up over 82% of its agency staff budget by the end of May. It was very clear before the summer months that the health service was headed for serious difficulty at a time of the year that is traditionally quieter and more manageable.
“Minister Varadkar has carefully crafted a role for himself as chief health observer, a media commentator who is constantly shocked and frustrated by the crisis. In the meantime, he is free to attend PR conferences telling attendees how he manages to achieve this feat and simultaneously lead his party’s PR campaign for the upcoming General Election.
“The Minister needs to realise he is in a position of responsibility and authority. Failing that, the Taoiseach needs to point it out to him. Now, as winter approaches and the crisis within our health service grows further, Leo Varadkar needs to finally step up to the mark and do the job he was appointed to. Instead of emails carefully crafted to protect himself, we need to start seeing some leadership.”