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Poll: After four years as Minister, has Mary Harney made a difference to the health service?

Yes, services have improved
Yes, services have declined

* Please note that the results of the online poll represent just a snapshot of opinion from the site members who participate. The results of each poll do not necessarily represent the national picture. Participants are only allowed to vote once in each poll.



   ·   22/09/2008 13:31

I used to have faith in Mary Harney but as a result of the recent cancer misdiagnosis and subsequent deaths I no longer do. Both the HSE and the health minister are a disgrace to this country. My thoughts are with all the victims and their families.


   ·   22/09/2008 16:43

She has made a big difference. It`s chaotic now, with people dying years before they should !!!!


   ·   23/09/2008 09:46

Does anyone remember what the health service was like in the 80's and 90's ? Are people too young to remember or are they looking back with rose tinted glasses? Anyone who had to access health services then will tell you things have improved.


   ·   24/09/2008 10:51

Knipex, I'm with you on this one. In the early 90's, I needed my tonsils removed - I was very ill and antibiotics weren't working. At the time, the public waiting list for an adult to see a consultant was about 3 years and probably another year or two for the surgery. I ended up paying to see the consultant privately and he agreed to do the surgery as an "emergency", but as a public patient, as I didn't have VHI. Things aren't perfect, there are a lot of improvements needed, but they're a hell of a lot better than they used to be.


   ·   24/09/2008 12:52

Whats the difference Knipex? Its still exactly the same. If you can afford to jump the queue you get treated, if you can't then you are abandoned. Nothing has changed (and yes, I do remember the 80's & 90's!!)

   ·   24/09/2008 14:47

Hammer your statement is alarmist and utterly wrong. If you see the CSO report Ageing in Ireland it will tell you that Irish men and women at 65 yrs have the highest life expectancy in the EU. Irish men and women are living almost an extra two years extra compared to ten years ago. Some of this must be down to significant improvements in the health services over the last decade.

   ·   25/09/2008 01:02

Hello No, We know what state the Health service is in going back & not 1 minister appointed to this office has improved. A large Injection of cash flow has been needed for a long time for more resources & what do we get an increase of charges with no improvements. And patient/s falling ill to M.R.S.A. And staff under far to much pressure to bring the waiting list's down & cutback in their care. I WILL NOT WASTE ANYMORE TIME ON THIS DISASTER.


   ·   25/09/2008 16:17

The Health Service may or may not have been worse in the 80's but there weren't as much resources either back then. HSE, Government and Prof Drumm have squandered too much money. If they are that short then why not approach the National Lottery for funding - it is for a good cause for the people after all!


   ·   25/09/2008 16:19

Things were far better when there were matrons in the hospitals -- they kept the staff on their toes about cleanliness ; there was no such thing as MRSA in those days! The nuns also ran a very tight ship -- the nurses do their best, but facilities are thin in the ground nowadays -- have to be to pay such exorbitant salaries, not to mention bonuses, to those in charge!!


   ·   25/09/2008 17:16

What I most fear is the infection level in hospitals. Each hospital needs one authority to oversee hygiene - something on the lines of the old-style matron. Generally the management of individual hospitals leaves a lot to be desired.


   ·   25/09/2008 18:14

Have to say I feel they have disimproved. Went to visit my elderly mother today who is in a big Dublin hospital waiting for a hip op. She has a special bed at home and an overhead bar to help pull her up in the bed. They searched the hospital for one and, of course, they didn't have any. The one from home had to be brought in. Pillows are in short supply. I needed to use the public toilet and it was appalling. The smell was disgusting, one of the toilets blocked, the hand drier wasn't working and neither was the paper towel machine. Myself and another woman were disgusted and had to walk out of there with dripping hands. Worse still, others were walking out without washing them at all. 2 years ago my father had to go to A & E. Managed to get a "hospital acquired infection" and was forced at age 78 to attend a clinic for "sexually acquired diseases". He went downhill and subsequently died a few months after. My daughter had her ears checked at school by the HSE doctor and I got a phone call to say they had found something wrong and they would send a letter for me to make a hospital appointment. I tried making the appointment, but the lists are so long they wouldn't put her on it. One hospital suggested I go private and gave me the number of a consultant. Was seen in a couple of weeks. If I hadn't VHI cover what would I have done, when they wouldn't even put her on a list? Both my daughters have special needs. The few services that are available to them are being cut every month.

   ·   25/09/2008 23:15

The only difference is the degree of spin. To night i was checking on an elderly Aunt's condition (90)wishing to visit her. My sister informed me only one member of immediate family allowed to visit due to infection on the ward. A neighbour-also elderly has contacted MRSA-he is being transfered to a nursing home(resisence elderly)This is appaling behaviour.In the 80's i was v. ill and survived.The 80's had far less money in circulation but we were supposedely the envy of Europe with our Celtic Tiger-did he contact MRSA i wonder! We have without doubt lost our sence of rage if we allow our elderly be treated in such a manner.These isolation wards are in the same Hospital. Breege.

big jim

   ·   26/09/2008 00:03

The money being spent on HEALTH CARE is at an all time high. The HSE has failed,more concerned with its own situation and has failed to provide the proper service in all locations. To improve the over all system THE HSE MUST BE REMOVE THE SAME WAY THAT IT WAS CREATED, THE BIGGEST WHITE ELEPHANT when it comes to HEALTH matters and value for money. The biggest scare I believe that people have is This HOSPITAL BUG? So make each hospital responsible for its own Budget and the Health Care provided. Some ONE person at each HOSPITAL must take the Responsibility and FLACK & RESIGN his position if found wanting? In my on case i found the hospital TOP HEAVY in ADMINISTRATION and not very efficent. Tanking God I was so glad to have the expertise in the Medical Fields, & my health is due to their way of getting around the Administration WAFFLE,Letters,Cancellations,NO contact with the Medical Team as to when I would be Operated on.

   ·   26/09/2008 01:22

I do have to point out that Mary Harney does have probably the most difficult job in this country. Yes she is Minister for health blah blah blah. But is she really accountable for all of health service's mistakes. If a highly professional consultant, who has never made a mistake in over 30 years misdiagnoses a patient-is she accountable? If so why? I mean from his/her track record they've never made a mistake until now. Why would Mary Harney be blamed? Dont get me wrong I am not pro Mary Harney nor am I against her. I just feel that no matter whats happens in the health service good or bad. People like to complain and In this case Mary is the target. It wasn't her who appointed the HSE.

   ·   26/09/2008 09:10

Mary Harney is a dsgrace. What kind of government keeps her in this job ? I remember the 80s and yes the health service was better then you could go in to an A&E in Dublin Dr Steevens Hosp, Baggot St Hosp. and be treated quickly and if you needed a bed you would get one without having to wait endless hours days etc on a trolley unlike today where the health Service is so much "improved".


   ·   26/09/2008 10:50

Knipex, my famly and I accessed the health services in the worst of the 80's and we accessed them recently and yes, Mary Harney has made a differnece *- she has made things worse! Cancer misdiagnosis and one health scandal and crisis after another. You'll wait over four years to see a neurologist and nearly two to see an orthopaedic consultant - regardless of if you're practically crippled and in need of a hip of knee replacement.No wonder half the country has private halth insuance so they can get seen to promptly. Anon, there is money in the heakth service, that is not the problem, mismanagement, the power in the hands of the wrong people and wastage are the problem. While I wouldn't have nuns back on charge of running hospitals for any money, you are right about matrons and cleanliness. Jess, I am sorry to hear about your Dad, while the STI clinics do tend to be good, hospital acquired infections seem to be rife. I can't believe tho that they woudl refuse to put your daughter on the list. Surely they cannot just close lists like that, that's an outrage.


   ·   26/09/2008 13:59

I must say that the Mater A&E is one of the worst I have ever seen. Thankfully I wasn't the patient, but my elderly mother-in-law was. She was on a trolley for 2 days. I found the best A & E was at James Connolly Blanchardstown where I was treated promptly. My daughter was taken to Tallaght hospital after a car crash she wasn't seriously injured thank god, but she could have been We waited 6 hours before she was seen.


   ·   26/09/2008 14:41

Aine I am delighted to hear of good reports with Blanch hospital as I have had bad experiences there. That said my partner recently went to Navan hospital and was seen, assessed, x-rayed, treated, stitched, given a tetanus and antibiotics in a very prompt and efficient manner with a follow up appointment for three days later for 8am on a Sunday morning when it would be quietest. Great service


   ·   26/09/2008 19:36

Aine, you say you waited 6 hours in tallaght hospital, you are lucky. I use tallaght a lot and I have waited 24 hours and I have diabetes. it's not funny sitting in a waiting room wondering if you're going to have a heart attack, and no I cannot see any improvement.


   ·   26/09/2008 21:30

Main change has been deterioration in confidence in services based on 1. rising public expectation (appropriate, given money being spent) 2. terrible communication 3. constant negative news stories 4. (my) impression very few in charge knows what result they want from the service Solutions? Realistic apolitical adult discussion of what we want from the health service. A+E at every crossroads? Tesco doing the flu jab? Universal health insurance? Get the basics right for everyone and pay (if you can afford it) for any fancy stuff? All of the above?


   ·   27/09/2008 18:33

What about the news in the last couple of days? Decided, last June, to offer flu vaccine free to all takers over 50. After 3 weeks of it being available, they are now withdrawing the offer as it has proven too costly. Now it is in the news also that they are thinking of withdrawing the automatic right to a medical card for those over 70. They hope to make up the shortfall by possibly raising the drugs payment scheme to 105 euro a month. I'm sure the HSE have accountants on their pay roll. Surely they have access to the census and can see how many people fall into these age brackets and can then do a forecast on costings. I'm no accountant but I do know how to budget.


   ·   29/09/2008 09:38

Your sarcasm aside RM, I think we all know what we want from the health service. An A+E where you do not have to wait 24 hours. A service where the ill do not have wait on trolleys for 2 or 3 days becuase we have run out of beds. We already pay for a universal health serv8ice - it is called tax and PRSI and there is more money being pumped into the health service than the vast majority of other EU countries with a worse result. Oh an hospitals which have the same levels of MRSA, C Diff and Vanomycan as say Holand would be nice. Nothing fancy there.


   ·   29/09/2008 12:24

re the medical Card; I got it when I qualified for the non-contributary old age pension, which is a kind of means test in itself. Then Mary Harney got the bright idea of giving to everyone over age 70 -- except that that included every Tom Dick and Harry, millionaires, C.E.O.s;, professional people etc. etc. many of whom could well afford their own medical care, but the greedy ones among them took full advantage of the medical card -- result: less for the genuinely needy ones. I have a friend who was rarely ill in her life and would not visit a doctor because 'they cost too much' even though she is very comfortably off. They gave her a medical card: now she visits her doctor about once a week, and demands, and gets, tablets for all sorts of imaginary problems, so she is getting the drugs free as well as the doctor! She is now over 90, still drives her own car (she shouldn't) and still has a very comfortable income from investments left to her by her husband. She is only one of many who got the medical card without really needing it, and money can only be spent once!

   ·   29/09/2008 14:48

Heather, the old age pension surely isn't means tested? If it is, then where is the point in means testing the medical card. In theory it might be fine to exclude the very rich but like means testing for anything else, will it be reduced to those only in poverty. If your friend has illnesses which she only imagines, then the doctor is being very irresponsible, don't you think in providing medication when she is not ill. She would have had to supply a medical cert to say that she was capable of driving in order to do so.


   ·   29/09/2008 16:47

To Anonymous: I should have said that I initally applied for the widow's pension, which is means tested in the non-contributary department, as is the old age pension; the payments are not very different, but the standard is still there. About my friend, I wholeheartedly agree with you about her doctor! he/she is very remiss, but then there are some GPs who succumb to pressure from patients. About her driving licence, the interesting part is that she lost it once for over two years; I thought, this is a great chance that she will be refused one! No, she went to her local garda station and they issued her with the necessary paperwork without a thought! that was about three years ago, and she is still driving! Admittedly she does not go very far, and she does drive very slowly --probably drives other people into having the accidents!


   ·   29/09/2008 17:13

Worse unfortunately. No pre-planning. Vast amounts of money being paid in salary + bonuses to people who are making things even worse. Watch out for the next scandal involving the so-called National Screening Programme where every single smear test is now being sent to the USA and regardless of whether you have a dodgy result or not, you will not be entitled to a smear within 3 years unless you pay for it & then you are left to find a reputable lab to have it checked in. What do you call a health service when a gynaecologist will do a smear for you and then send you home with the smear test telling you to give it to your G.P. as he has nowhere to send it to be tested??? The only thing I can call that is Russian roulette with people's lives and its all down to Ms Harney's mismanagement and the lack of will and intelligence within the Govt ranks to replace her with someone who can put the health of the nation above their own poliitical aspirations.

This discussion is now closed.