Cork Fianna Fáil TD criticises HSE for ‘litany of mistakes’

He said that politicians “wax lyrical” about the injustice of the State forcing private citizens to go to the courts to vindicate their rights
Cork Fianna Fáil TD criticises HSE for ‘litany of mistakes’

Cork TD ’s Padraig O’Sullivan, right, asked why, if as Health Minister Stephen Donnelly, left, had repeatedly claimed, money was not an issue, the HSE had been ‘intent on cutting corners’.

A GOVERNMENT TD has strongly criticised the HSE, citing “a litany of mistakes” negatively affecting thousands of people, after which nobody has ever been held responsible or lost their jobs.

Cork North Central TD Pádraig O’Sullivan said the HSE is “now on notice” after a recent High Court judgment on assessments of need for children with disabilities.

Mr O’Sullivan, Fianna Fáil spokesperson on special education, also asked why, if as Health Minister Stephen Donnelly had repeatedly claimed, money was not an issue, the HSE had been “intent on cutting corners”.

The TD’s comments come after a High Court judgment by Ms Justice Siobhan Phelan that the standard operating procedure (SOP) applied by the HSE to assess the needs of children with disabilities does not comply with the Disabilities Act 2005.

RULING

Ms Justice Phelan made her ruling in two test actions brought on behalf of children who, in judicial review proceedings against the HSE, sought to quash reports compiled after they underwent SOPs.

Mr O’Sullivan said that politicians “wax lyrical” about the injustice of the State forcing private citizens to go to the courts to vindicate their rights.

“This was true in the case of the deaf community recently, where deaf children will now for the first time have access to Irish Sign Language interpreters in school, all down to the actions of the Geary family from Ballyhooly, who took on the machinery of State,” Mr O’Sullivan said.

“We are also familiar with the cases of victims of malpractice in the cervical cancer scandals, and thalidomide sufferers.

“Yet, when we say ‘no more’ to forcing citizens down this route, inevitably another scandal erupts where yet another individual or community is forced to the Four Courts.”

Mr O’Sullivan said he had been heartened in the aftermath of Ms Justice Phelan’s judgment that Disabilities Minister Anne Rabbitte had come out unequivocally and stated that the HSE should not appeal the judge’s decision.

“This means that the HSE is now on notice,” he stated.

“The SOP model that they instigated in January 2020 has now been seen for what it is, a shortcut, a digression from the rights bestowed on all persons under the Disability Act 2005.”

Mr O’Sullivan said he had argued at a Fianna Fáil parliamentary party meeting at the time the SOP process was introduced “that it was immoral, unjust and downright wrong”, but, he said, the HSE, had ignored prevailing public and political opinion.

Mr O’Sullivan said this left him, as a public representative, with one fundamental question which, he said went to the heart of Ireland’s health service.

“We are repeatedly told by Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly that money isn’t the issue here, so why was the HSE intent on cutting corners?”

“This was a HSE decision that had and continues to have profound negative impacts on individuals and their families, yet no one, nobody, in the HSE has been held accountable for this call.”

Mr O’Sullivan welcomed Ms Rabbitte’s decision to come to Cork next week, to meet parents of children with special needs and disabilities at the Radisson Hotel, Little Island, at 7.30pm on Tuesday.

HSE RESPONSE

A spokesperson said the HSE will engage with the families of approximately 10,000 children given preliminary assessments under the SOP, “to establish if they wish to receive a further assessment under the terms of the Disability Act”.

The spokesperson added that the HSE is prioritising the establishment of a group to develop a plan to address the needs of those children who may need additional diagnostic assessments.

“The HSE remains committed to the delivery of appropriate services for children with disabilities and will work with families and staff to develop services that meet their needs,” they said.

More in this section

Sponsored Content

EL_music

Podcast: 1000 Cork songs 
Singer/songwriter Jimmy Crowley talks to John Dolan

Listen Here

Add Echolive.ie to your home screen - easy access to Cork news, views, sport and more