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Order of Business
Snippet Contents:

I was here many years ago, when former Deputy Mary Harney was Minister for Health. We talked about the 2008 hospital consultant issues. At the time I asked who had the power to take on the consultants. Somebody always asked me what the difference between a consultant and God was and the answer was that God does not think he is a consultant. Consultants are powerful and make the difference between life and death. They have a powerful vested interest.
I was disappointed to see last night that we had not moved on. There was an agreement that consultants would take pay increases and would limit their private practice. I was shocked and horrified to see what was happening. I want the Minister for Health to come here and answer this. It is not just the Minister for Health but vested interests across the health sector. I saw it first-hand when dealing with it seven or eight years ago, with people who put their own careers ahead of patient safety and health. It is not right that people have to wait for an appointment and consultants are abusing their position.
I agree that not all consultants do so but some of them give a very bad name to something that should be their vested interest and a vocation. I will never be a consultant but there are vested interests in the public health service, not just among consultants. Unless any Government or Minister for Health can take them on, we will have the same problems in ten or 15 years. I was extremely disappointed and angry to see that, in 12 years, while we have moved on with many aspects, we have not moved on with this aspect. I congratulate "RTÉ Investigates" for the sterling work it has done.