C: Save Navan Hospital (FB)

TD asks if Paul Reid’s “Public Contradiction of the Minister” had role in his resignation 

A Meath West TD has asked for clarification regarding Paul Reid’s resignation as Chief of the Health Service Executive, saying that Reid’s decision to step down was announced after he “openly rebuked and undermined” the Health Minister on live radio. 

Cathaoirleach of the Save Navan Hospital Campaign and Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín said that Reid was contradicting the Minister in a RTE interview around the proposed closure of Navan A&E, a move which has caused huge controversy in the country. 

Speaking today, Deputy Tóibín said, “I wish Paul Reid well in any new venture that he embarks upon. Paul served in one of the most difficult jobs in the country for the past three years. I am a firm believer that, in the main, public servants should not be the target of politicians criticism as in the main, public servants implement the policy of the Minister under the budget provided by the Minister. In the majority of cases therefore constructive criticism should be targeted at mistakes and incorrect policy decisions by the Minister responsible for the department”.    

“However, momentarily leaving aside all of the chaos that is engulfing our Hospital waiting lists, our A&Es, the dwindling GP services, we have witnessed an unprecedented turn of events in recent months.  I have never heard a senior public servant openly rebuke and undermine his line Minister live on radio before. It is stunning that one the highest  paid public servants would openly brief against his Minister so publicly. The whole idea of a public servant is that they implement the will of the democratically elected Minister”.

 “What we are seeing here is an inversion of the democratic process. This is not the first time either. 2 weeks ago the Minister organised a meeting between the HSE and the elected reps of Meath. The meeting was billed by the Minister as a discussion on the future of Navan Hospital A&E and that no decision was made on the A&E. Yet before we left the meeting the HSE had issued a statement saying that the A&E would lose on the 30th of June. This statement was then retracted by the HSE shortly afterwards. The Minister and the CEO of the HSE were in direct and public conflict and that is a dysfunctional way to manage the Health Service”.

 “Caught in the middle are the people of Meath, as uncertainly lingers over the most important piece of health infrastructure in the county. If the HSE withhold the necessary funding from our hospital to improve our A&E and it closes our A&E, 25,000 people in Meath will be forced to attend an already jointed A&E in Drogheda which has 12 hour waiting times. Staff in Connolly Hospital held a picket in recent months against the overcrowded conditions at their A&E. The Mater Hospital and Mullingar Hospital told patients not to show up, such is the overcrowding in their A&Es. 546 people were on trollies in recent weeks and this in the middle of summer. The HSE’s solution is a GP referral MAU. GPs are like hens teeth in Meath and no one in an emergency is going to wait 10 days for a GP appointment to then go to an MAU,” he said. 

 “The solution to A&E overcrowding is more capacity not less. The solution to safety questions is a properly funded Acute Surgery Service in Navan. Remember the HSE closed the previous acute surgery service down 10 years ago. That closure was investigated in the Peyton Report, which found that the closing of the acute surgery service in our hospital was groundless”.

 “In all of this confusion and chaos, it is reasonable to ask what role had Paul Reid’s public contradiction of the Minister for Health’s policy in his resignation?” the Aontú leader asked. 

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