Updated: 15/05/18 : 05:11:07
Printable Version   Bookmark and Share Share This

editorial

HSE was a horse designed by committee

By Eugene McGloin
Political Editor


CANADIAN CONSULTANCY firm McKinsey looked at the CIE transport conglomerate nearly forty years ago.

It seemed too much to take on board when they fine-focused on a break-up of the company into distinct divisions.

Such separations would deal solely with buses on one hand and trains on the other hand.

Back then, we said ‘halt, whoa, hold your horses, can’t be done, the unions would never buy it etc etc.’

They did.....after the travelling public saw the unanswerable logic and led the way.

Into Mothballs

McKinsey on another trip looked at aspects of the Irish health system.....BUT back then it wasn’t as broke as it is now.

Every element of it back then could be publicly scrutinised and/or held accountable at local, regional and denational political levels. It often was, too. 

Right now, the HSE needs to be broken up, the current hospitals groupings maybe maintained but most else put into mothballs, permanently.

That has been my unchanged view for a decade in these columns.

Unchanged since it was first communicated directly in Sligo town to the ‘Father’ of the HSE fiasco, Meehawl Martin. 

Less Accountable

Later, he stood idly by in a government which helped Mary Harney make the HSE less accountable to the Dáil any more.

First day ever, the HSE was a horse designed by a committee as it deconstructed the old health boards system which had operated between 1970 and 2004.

Chinless wonders with NO background in health care administration were hired. New brooms. 

Some of them fired into decision-making quickly.....with no political oversight or accountability on issues of, say, fairness, bias, blunder, budgeting, equality to name only five.

The Daleks

The health system was in a mode of “in transition” and all shortcomings were swept under that Magic Carpet.

It was viewed as downright unreasonable, as impatience, to question the tracking of the transition.

Even when it was (too obviously) a tracking arc already out of kilter.

You might as well have been dealing with the Daleks. Media were no better either when it came to oversight or accountability of the baby monster. 

Directly Accountable

National media, the self styled ‘quality’ element of it especially, thought the ‘be all and end all’ was to end all ‘political involvement’ in health decisions.

The early by-product of that media bluster saw no shortage of bullshoot about ‘new brooms.’ 

Those media should address and answer the following question:-

Would the current Cervical Check shambles be greater or lesser if, if elected politicians had ever seen sight of, or been directly accountable for, those memos and the briefing note which emerged last week.

It is good to Liam Doran, pictured, the former head of a main nursing union, with TDs such as Fergus O’Dowd say on TV3 last night they support the break-up of the HSE.

Model Merit

Let’s get on with it, just as McKinsey did in guiding Ireland to have a train and bus service fit for purpose in the 21st century.

The HSE is no such thing; everything in it is (a) so centralized and (b) so unaccountable that even Putin would see merit in the model.

There is no current prospect the HSE can ever be fit for purpose as a unitary model.

Appointing a new board to a unitary model is tInkering at a micro level. The organization is a busted flush.

A new centralized chief will not solve the main problems, either, any more than the old centralized chief was its main problem. 

Let’s see if the head(s) that should roll will roll. Don’t hold your breath.