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Order of Business

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Senator Kevin Humphreys

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Order of Business
Snippet Contents:

I wish to raise two issues on the Order of Business. The first issue concerns the Tánaiste and an email. There is no doubt in my mind that when the email arrived in the Department of Justice and Equality it should have raised a red flag. When I performed a quick search on my computer this morning I discovered that there were nearly 50 articles in the previous month about Garda Maurice McCabe. If the email did not raise a red flag then I do not know what would. We are quickly moving from a red flag situation to a red card for the Tánaiste.
Yesterday, we suggested that the Tánaiste should come to this House and I am glad to see that she will be here this evening. For a long time I have been dissatisfied with only having statements on these issues. I would much prefer if we adopted a question and answer format. I would like the group leaders to consider my suggestion but with the same time constraints.
Like my previous colleague, I want to refer to the "Prime Time" programme aired last night. Recently we have read in the newspapers that as many as 8,500 people await cataract surgery but in one case a consultant has worked just 13 hours per week in the public system, and this is at a time when most consultants are paid a salary of between €113,000 and €229,000. On a regular basis private consultants defraud the HSE by amounts ranging from €14,000 to €20,000. They are only a tiny minority but the number adds up.
In 2015, the head of the HSE said that the 80:20 split practice had become "a farce". We have serious management issues within the HSE. I call on the Leader to invite the Minister for Health to this House for a proper debate, using a question and answer format, on the management of the HSE. I know of a case in Waterford where a GP regularly sends patients to the local accident and emergency unit for tests because there is no access to consultants. That situation is duplicated across the country. We have a shortage in the number of consultants, doctors and nurses who work in our hospitals but we also have an enormous problem with HSE management. The number of management staff has increased in huge numbers and far beyond the number of additional doctors that have been recruited for the health service. We have a crisis in management but we have had it for a long time. Ever since the HSE monster was created the health service has deteriorated. I ask the Leader to arrange an urgent debate on HSE management and on how hospitals are managed in this country.