As always around this time of year, the nation suffers an acute shortage of hospital beds.
Minister Reilly, who loves pulling, stokes, and hates being accused of dodgy deals, has for once come up with a jaw dropping solution, which will insure hospital beds are readily available.
A program of replacing hospital beds with hammocks will begin early next year and will more than double their capacity for patients despite the crippling effects this will have on overstretched staff.
Reilly was disappointed that the HSE were themselves unable to come up with this simple initiative. He did thank the consultancy firm known as the friends of Reilly for their work in this area.
The first thousand hammocks are to be installed in January.
Reilly does not expect fallout from the scheme.
James Reilly at government buildings holding the expert group report on the need for new abortion legislation, which was published yesterday.
‘You didn’t really think I’d read it, did ye? Hahahahaha’
Looks like he puts away 100 Carrolls and a case of Powers a day.
But then one of the prerequisites for being Minister for Health is that you cannot run 10 yards without serious risk of a coronary?
Two locations in Minister for Health James Reilly’s north Dublin constituency were added to a list of places chosen for primary care centres on the evening before they were announced by the Government, newly released documents reveal.
Further changes were made to the list including the addition of Ballaghaderreen, Co Roscommon, and Kilkenny just hours before the list of centres was announced as part of the Government’s stimulus package last July, the documents obtained under freedom of information show.
Last September, The Irish Times revealed that Swords and Balbriggan were added to the priority list announced by Dr Reilly as part of the stimulus package, despite the fact that they did not feature in a list of the top 30 locations drawn up by the HSE and his then minister of state, Róisín Shortall.
Swords, Balbriggan, Kilkenny and Ballaghaderreen all ranked outside the top 35 in the list of priority locations drawn up by Ms Shortall and HSE officials, which was weighted towards the most deprived areas of the country.
Swords ranked 130th in this list while Balbriggan ranked 44th. Ballaghaderreen, which was the subject of lobbying by two Government politicians, ranked 244th, while Kilkenny was ranked in 151st position.
The issue has proved hugely controversial for Dr Reilly and the Government ever since. Ms Shortall resigned in September and later described the addition of the two locations in north Dublin to her original list as “stroke politics”.
The documents reveal a flurry of last-minute changes in July after the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER) told the Department of Health for the first time that the locations would be published at the time of the stimulus announcement.
At that point, on July 16th, 33 locations were on the list. However, the Department of Health then drew up its “final list”. A memo sent to DPER at 8pm on that day – the day before the announcement – submitted a new list with Swords, Balbriggan and Oranmore added, and South Dublin removed.
The following day another memo from the Department of Health, marked “urgent – revisions”, stated that there were “changes to last night’s list”.
“There are now 36 locations. Ballaghaderreen is new . . . Kilkenny is new, Castlecomer is out, Oranmore is out,” the memo stated. It was sent at 11:55am, almost 1½ hours after that week’s Cabinet meeting started.
The documents do not show the rationale Dr Reilly employed in altering the original list, but the Minister has said he made his decisions based on a number of factors, including the likelihood of GP buy-in to the plans.
The official files also show that last month the secretary general of the Department of Health Ambrose McLoughlin asked its internal audit unit to “ascertain any connection that links the Minister and/or his four advisers in relation to the selection of the sites for the Balbriggan and Swords primary care centres”. This followed claims that a supporter of Dr Reilly owned the site of a proposed centre in Balbriggan.
Dr Reilly rejected any suggestion of impropriety in the selection of the site. He said this had nothing to do with him.
Fianna Fáil health spokesman Billy Kelleher said last night the new information posed serious questions for Dr Reilly and Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore. He said the Tánaiste told the Dáil there was documentation which could be sought under freedom of information on the background to Mr Reilly’s decision. Mr Kelleher said nowhere in documents released did this explanation exist. A spokesman for the Minister did not return calls last night.
SPENDING IN Sligo Regional Hospital continues to be €800,000-plus per month over its approved budget, according to the latest figures released by the HSE last night (Tuesday).
However, finances in the hospital improved marginally — by a fifth of one percent — during September.
Sligo Regional is now listed 13th in Ireland — from 119 centres — for rates of absenteeism. General support staff, nursing and management/admin are the grades identified.
St Johns Hospital is also showing a budget overrun in excess of 10% for the year.
The ‘shave back’ and savings in Sligo Regional Hospital helped contribute to a national picture which saw the HSE’s overall deficit for 2012 drop back to €399 million — it’s first drop.
Sligo Regional Hospital has spent €7.4 million more than its allocated budget in the first nine months of 2012, last night’s official statistics confirm.
The Hospital has now exceeded its annual budget by 10.5%, states the HSE Performance Report for September.
Statistics for Sligo Regional Hospital reveal that by September 30th it had spent €78.4 million of its entire 2012 budget of €92.3 million.
The budget allocated by the Department of Health for 2012 suggested that Sligo Regional Hospital should have been able to get by with €70.9 million between January 1st and September 30th.
In St John’s Hospital, the accumulated budget overrun for the year now stands at €1.3 million — a 10.2% overrun.
St Johns show heavy spending on agency costs for staff in medical/dental; it accounted for 23% of payroll costs in September.
The Minister for Health, Dr Reilly, has iterated all year that there will be no bail-out for HSE or hospitals running over budget.
The Government has been under some pressure from The Troika, which oversees Ireland’s bailout. It has criticised spending on health.
The Irish Times reports this morning that the Government has agreed “to comply by the end of the month with a request from the EU-IMF troika for a detailed plan to tackle the spending overrun in the health service.”
RTE has, however, offered a glimmer of hope; unexpended capital budgets in 2012 may be considered for reallocation to current-side budgets, the station’s Health Correspondent Fergal Bowers indicated last night on television.
Fianna Fáil’s Health spokesman Billy Kelleher separately predicted the Minister “will move to ‘shore up’ his budget failings by moving unspent money from his Department’s capital allocation to current spending.”
A nursing union leader, Liam Doran of the INMO, said that talk of budget overruns was ”an accountants exercise.” The original budget was wholly inadequate, he said.
Criticism of budget overrun was “unfair, misguided and unwarranted,” added Mr Doran, who praised staff for “heroic” efforts.
The leading Labour Party councillor in Sligo, Cllr Jim McGarry, has also queried in past fortnight whether Sligo Regional Hospital has been under funded by the Government. See SligoToday.ie 5/11/2012
No Specific Reference
There is no specific reference to Cregg House in the Performance Report released last night.
Page 40 deals with an update assessment titled: ”Service Arrangements and Grant Aid Agreements.”
It remains unclear if this section — unlikely — includes any reference to the ongoing impasse between the HSE and the Daughters of Wisdom at Cregg House.
The Performance Report states: ”….Of the 27 Non Acute Agencies in receipt of over €10 million in the non acute sector, 14 have completed, with the remainder all indicating that they will sign with the exception of a single provider.”
This single provider, adds the Report, ”is in negotiations on whether they will continue to provide services.”
The Report speaks of “cost containment issues,” in particular in HSE dealings with disability agencies.
The Daughters six months ago publicly highlighted an issue of under funding in a proposed renewal of its Service Level Agreement (SLA) and said they could not continue.
In the past two months the Daughters again re-stated their commitment to leave after 57 years but offered an extension to January to the HSE.
The Performance Reports provides the most up-to-date picture of what is happening at all levels inside Irish hospitals, community services and the HSE itself.
In comparison, the report released Monday by the Economic, Social and Research Institute (ESRI) — which assessed hospitals including Sligo Regional Hospital — refers only to 2011 and an historical analysis of data.
They Reports are released online each month after all data and commentary for the relevant month has first been sent to the Minister for Health.
Sligo Regional is highlighted in the Performance Report for high levels of absenteeism. It is 13th in the country on a rolling assessment over three months up to August.
Cregg House is placed 112th in a list of 119 named centres, while Roscommon County Hospital is 7th in Irish health settings for absenteeism.
The absenteeism issue in Sligo is once again ‘flagged’ in the summary comment to the Minister.
General support staff (9.75%), nursing staff (7.39%) and and management/admin (6.48%) absenteeism rates in Sligo Regional Hospital all far exceed the national average of 4.7% for the three month rolling period under review.
No reasons are offered in the Performance Report, or elsewhere, as to why absenteeism — and across several grades — remains high in Sligo Regional Hospital.
The Performance Report indicates that nine in every ten incidents of absenteeism is certified — 89.8%
Finally, 1.8 million medical cards had been issued by October 1st — almost 40,000 more than were planned in budgets for 2012, says the Performance Report.
Diabetes services are in crisis, with complications, such as amputations, at a record high, Diabetes Action has claimed.
New figures from the HSE show that in 2010 and 2011, there were 781 diabetes-related lower limb amputations, a 20% increase on the previous two-year period.
Some 190,000 people in Ireland have diabetes and according to the advocacy group, the condition is now the single biggest cause of amputation, blindness, kidney failure and stroke. Yet the HSE is ‘amplifying this public health disaster’ by failing to fill essential posts and make retinal screening available, despite the fact that funding has been available for this since 2010.
Commenting on the figures, consultant endocrinologist, Dr Kevin Moore, described leg amputation as the ‘greatest measure of failure in the treatment of diabetes’. However, he noted that this ‘occurs daily in our hospitals‘.
Furthermore, every week in Ireland, someone with diabetes goes blind as a result of related eye disease, diabetic retinopathy. And ‘promised advances’ in paediatric services to increase the availability of insulin pumps to young children ‘haven’t materialised’.
Dr Moore insisted that the HSE is failing people with diabetes ‘on every front’ and despite some work being done in this area, there has been ‘no impact on health outcomes’.
“Footcare, eyecare and paediatric services have all been funded in successive HSE Service Plans since 2010, however, of 16 footcare posts, nine remain unfilled, the promised retinopathy screening programme has stalled and paediatric nursing and dietetic posts in Cork, Limerick and Galway have not even been advertised,” he said.
Meanwhile, speaking about plans to move some diabetes care from hospitals into GP surgeries, Dr Moore insisted that this would ‘not be safe or acceptable until essential services, such as retinanl screening, are in place’.
“Most GPs are not trained in managing these complex aspects of diabetes care,” he said.
Also commenting on this issue, Dr Anna Clarke of Diabetes Ireland, said that while the government’s policy on chronic illnesses is based on integrated services, none of the elements required for this in the area of diabetes have been delivered.
“Most nurses applying for these posts will come from the hospital system and because of recruitment embargos they won’t be replaced when they leave. The posts may strengthen certain pilot primary care initiatives, but they will ultimately weaken already deficient services in hospitals where nursing posts will vanish,” Dr Clarke insisted.
Diabetes Action is calling on the Minister for Health to ‘show leadership and insist that the HSE deliver on its commitments’.
Minister for Health James Reilly is breaking the law and rejecting international human rights principles by failing to remove an upper age limit for an allowance to people with disabilities, according to a report by Ombudsperson Emily O’Reilly.
Minister for Health James Reilly is breaking the law and rejecting international human rights principles, by failing to remove an upper age limit for an allowance to people with disabilities, according to a report by Ombudsperson Emily O’Reilly.
She says it, “raises fundamental questions about the strength of our commitment to international human rights norms.
The continued failure of the department to tackle this issue, suggests it has a very weak sense of the importance of supporting human rights principles and indeed, a very weak sense of the rule of law and of its obligation to act in accordance with the law.’
Ms O’Reilly further said, “I have sympathy for the Government and the rest of us who are about to come under the cosh with €3.5 billion reduction in terms of the money that can be spent on public services but I think it is simply unacceptable for the State to act outside the law.
I think basically they are trying to string this out. They have to remove the cap.”
Ms O’Reilly also said, that when the scheme was originally introduced in 1979 the upper age limit was legal, however when the Equal Status Act became legislation in 2000, the State could no longer discriminate on grounds of age.The report also says the O’Reilly’s department, has been operating a scheme for the past 12 years, on the basis of a condition that was illegal and that it has known to be illegal for the past four years. Despite having agreed last year to remove the upper age limit from the scheme, it failed to do so. As a consequence, it has knowingly allowed the scheme to continue in operation on the basis of an illegality.
Opposition politicians may have largely abandoned their sallies on Minister for Health James Reilly’s position on the bumping-up of a site in Balbriggan belonging to his associate, for development as a primary care centre, but controversy and malodour involving the Minister and his actions are not going away. Today we learn of continued resistance by consultants to his late-in-the-day reform of work practices, but it was earlier this week that the Minister revealed in the Dail that practically all medicines used in the Irish public health system are expensive non-generic medicines. This compares with just 20% use of non-generic medicines in our closest neighbour, the UK.
Minister Reilly was responding to a series of questions from the Sinn Fein health spokesman Caoimhghin O’Caolain and the Sinn Fein finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty. It was revealed that in 2011, a staggering total of €1.85bn of drugs were prescribed in Ireland and that just a paltry €100m per annum are non-generic. In a recent IMF report on selected issues in Ireland, it was revealed that in the UK, 80% of drugs prescribed are generic. It seems that the IMF estimate of generic drug use in Ireland of 20% was four times over the true percentage*, which just aggravates the point being made by the IMF. Generic drugs, whose patents may have expired, are less expensive than non-generic drugs, yet Ireland’s health service, overseen by Minister Reilly is aloof to tackling an area which could see hundreds of millions of euro savings per annum. Just how much longer can this minister continue in his post.
The full parliamentary questions and responses are here:
Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: To ask the Minister for Health the full drugs bill for the Health Service Executive for 2010, 2011 and to date in 2012; if he will provide a breakdown of same by scheme, by patent status and branded generic status.
Deputy Pearse Doherty: To ask the Minister for Health if he will provide an estimate of the cost of drugs and medication used by the public health service in each of 2010 and 2011.
Deputy Pearse Doherty: To ask the Minister for Health if he will provide an estimate of the cost of generic drugs and medication used by the public health service in 2010 and 2011.
Minister for Health, James Reilly: HSE expenditure on drugs and non-drug items (dressings, etc.) under the GMS and community drug schemes for the years 2010 and 2011, including mark ups and dispensing fees for pharmacists and wholesalers, is set out in the following table:
The HSE’s Performance Report indicates that expenditure up to July 2012 is approximately €1 billion . Expenditure on generic drugs is estimated to be in the region of €100 million per annum.
The outstanding information sought by the Deputies is being collated and will be supplied as soon as possible.
* UPDATE: 25th October, 2012. It has been pointed out that the IMF study examined volume which showed that 20% of volume was non-generic, the PQs above reveal that 5% by value is non-generic.
A SPECIAL adviser to Minister for Health James Reilly held a paid position up until last year with a company that has received several million euro from the HSE for the provision of home help services.
This is the parent company of Comfort Keepers, a private firm which has been involved in the provision of homecare services such as home help for several years under a contract arrangement with the HSE.
A spokesman for the Minister said last night that Ms Windle’s role with Sodexo Zehnacker Healthcare Ireland “had no bearing whatsoever on the tendering process in the HSE in relation to the home care sector”.
Ms Windle joined Dr Reilly’s staff as a special adviser earlier this year.
Yesterday a campaign organisation, the Home Help/Home Care Action Group, called on Dr Reilly to clarify the business relationship between Ms Windle and the company concerned.
Official figures show that Comfort Keepers received just over €1 million from the HSE in 2007 but that this had risen to over €3.2 million by 2011.
John Lyons, a spokesman for the Home Help/Home Care Action Group, said: “We need a full and honest account from Minister Reilly as to the exact business relationship that Ms Windle has had with Sodexo in the past, and full disclosure of any continuing relationship she may have with this major multinational.”
Last week the HSE announced it was to cut spending on home help services by €8 million between now and the end of the year.
The HSE said the number of home help hours would be reduced by between 400,000 and 450,000 hours as a result of the budget cuts.
The Home Help/Home Care Action Group said it would organise a march to Dáil Éireann on October 17th “to demand that the Government and HSE immediately cease attacking the elderly, sick and disabled and restore all home help hours and homecare packages cut this year”.
The HSE said decisions in relation to the provision of home help hours would continue to be based on a review of individual needs.
Ms Windle was previously chief executive of the northern area health board prior to the abolition of the old health board structure that made way for the estab
Labour Party Mayor Challenges Gilmore to sack Reilly
Mayor of Fingal Cian O’Callaghan, the chairperson of the council in north Dublin, believes Gilmore must compel Dr Reilly to resign.
“The Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore TD must insist that the Minister for Health James Reilly TD resigns with immediate effect. The latest revelations show yet again that Minister Reilly is failing to reform our healthcare system in the best interests of the country,” he says.
“The wrong Minister in the Department of Health resigned last week. James Reilly has failed to deliver on key reforms regarding consultants pay, reducing the bill for generic drugs and rolling out free GP care for people with long term
Examine the achievements of both and you will observe Shortstaw achieved nothing whilst Reilly got scored two own goals. The best result would have been two resiginations.
T.D. Willie Penrose has described Róisín Shortall‘s resignation as “a warning shot” to the government.
Deputy Penrose, who himself resigned as a Labour Party Minister of State last year, over the closure of Columb Barracks in Mullingar, discussed Ms. Shortall’s decision on Midlands 103 last said
“This is a warning shot across the bows of Government, and especially to the Fine Gael element therein, that we are not there to be walked upon or to roll over,” he said.
Willie wake up there is no ammunition left in Mullingar
From The Champion
Anti-Zionist slogans have appeared along one of Sligo’s busiest roads.
In green and red ink, they were daubed on a wall at the entrance to steps beside Markievicz Road.
The steps lead up to Barrack Street, which overlooks the town.
The slogans call for a “Free Palestine” and “Zion Out.”
What the press missed further down the road was no asylum anywhere for Kenny
Roscommon County Council has been criticized for not taking seriously the health and safety of the people of Tibohine, after its decision to grant another waste facility permit at a site in the area.
Last month, the Council granted Biocore Environmental AD1 Limited a waste facility permit for 19,000 tons of waste. This was despite of objections raised by Tibohine residents, Tibohine Action Group, Tibohine Community Friends, AWN Consulting and the Inland Fisheries Ireland.
And I thought Roscommon was the wastelands
Dr James Reilly the Health Minister has once again spectacularly changed his story on the site selected for a primary care site in his constituency.
Dr. Reilly claimed the decision on the site was made during Mary Harney tenure in office. Ruairí Quinn the Minister for Education backed up this claim.
Reilly now admits that this information is totally incorrect.
Enda the Time has come to sack Minister Reilly and at the same time a slap on the wrist for Master Quinn
A one act Play from the Dáil Starring Luke Ming Flanagan
Deputy Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan:
When one applies for a job in the normal world, one is supposed to tell the truth about what one will do, how hard one will work, and what one’s qualifications are.
In advance of the general election in an open letter to the people of Roscommon, the person who is now Minister for Health, Deputy Reilly, said the following:
I would like to confirm that Fine Gael undertakes, in accordance with the Fine Gael Policy on Local Hospitals, to retain the Emergency, Surgical, Medical and other health services at Roscommon Hospital, which are present on the formation of the 31st Dáil. [It got even better, though.] Furthermore, in the event of the A&E being downgraded, we are committed to reinstating a 24/7 service, where feasible.
In a normal job when one tells a porky, one loses one’s job if found out. For that reason alone – there are many other reasons – the Minister should resign.
Deputy Paul Kehoe:
When is the Deputy going?
Deputy Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan:
I support the motion. The motion of no confidence also presents the perfect opportunity for Deputy Feighan to show that the 9,000-plus people who voted for him at the last general election did not completely waste their time.
Deputy Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan:
With respect, may I have the protection of the Chair?
Order, please. Let the speaker finish as he has only a few seconds left.
Acting Chairman (Deputy Charlie McConalogue):
Order, please. As the Deputy has only a few seconds remaining, I ask him to finish up.
Deputy Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan:
No problem – I thank you very much.
The Deputy can give it but cannot take it.
Deputy Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan: The reality is people should tell the truth when they go before the electorate.
Acting Chairman (Deputy Charlie McConalogue):
The Deputy’s time is up.
Deputy Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan: That is very important. They should stand by the people – they pay their wages.
Acting Chairman (Deputy Charlie McConalogue):
I ask for order from both sides of the House, particularly the Government side when other speakers are speaking.
The Taoiseach: On 9 March 2011, I nominated Dr. James Reilly as Minister for Health. I did so, not because he has decades of experience as a GP or because he developed a radical policy to create a patient-centred health system, but because he has a passionate commitment to creating a health service that puts the patient first….
I suspect we will never hear a response from Reilly to Ming’s comments and ditto from Frank Feighan.
It is likely in the next election the good people of Roscommon will give Dumb Frank the boot and justifiable so.
As for Reilly now, he has become a complete joke, professionally and personally. He is so incompetent that I am flabbergasted to hear the Taoiseach defend him openly. Kenny needs to remove this man straight away to an inactive post, as he is a liability to the Country.
The performance given by Flanagan in this one act play points to a bright future for this young man. However, at some stage he may have to make a choice between scripting and acting. Whatever the case the man is a national treasure. A person you can rely on to uplift the collective mental state of the nation.
Last night Dr Reilly said both Swords, and Balbriggan were recognized as high-priority areas by the HSE five years ago. However, both “lost out” after Minister of State Shortall increased the weighting and they were swept from high priority to low priority. Under the original priority system, Reilly stated they both would have been in the top 35. Conversely, under the new system with an altered weighting system, they ended down the list.”
However, we now know this is a blatant lie as Balbriggan was ranked in forty fourth position and Swords in one hundred and twenty seventh place before Ms. Shortall ordered officials to change the weighting related to deprivation.