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Minister must stop blaming workers and start looking for solutions - Louise O'Reilly TD

9 February, 2017 - by Louise O'Reilly TD

Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Louise O’Reilly TD has criticised the Minister’s 5 point plan for dealing with waiting lists, announced last year, launching a scathing attack on his own priority to validate waiting lists. Deputy O’Reilly also highlighted that NTPF protocol was suddenly changed this year.

Speaking in the chamber, Deputy O’Reilly said:

“One of your points in your plan, Minister was to make sure waiting lists are accurate, that there would be ‘a clinical validation of waiting lists’. After this week’s revelations, Minister, nothing is clearer than the fact that the waiting lists as presented to us are far from accurate.

“Let me ask: was hiding these 49,000 people on waiting lists part of your clinical validation?  Was the change in the classification used by the NTPF early this year part of this clinical validation?  

“Minister can you share with us please the reason why the protocol used by the NTPF from 2014 to 2017 was abruptly changed earlier this year?

“The NTPF themselves in their statement issued after the RTE Investigates programme say in line with international best practices published waiting list data excludes patients classified as pre admit or and planned procedures also known as TCIs – to come ins. What is disturbing about this statement is that the protocol used by the NTPF dated 2014 and in use up until a few weeks ago provided for the publication of the TCI figures.  International best practice does not change overnight – and it certainly does not change to suit the agenda of a government running scared from their own abysmal failures. 

“I am deeply disturbed about this – the protocol dated 2014 has disappeared from the NTPF website – was this discredited?  What international best practice caused the change?

“Minister it seems to me that this protocol and the reference to international best practice magically appeared just as the figures waiting for treatment magically disappeared.  This is not good enough Minister.  You have to explain this fundamental shift in policy – was it directed by your office? Was it directed by the HSE?   Did the NTPF take it upon themselves?

“It strikes me that rather than focusing on concentrating on taking people off the lists that you think should not be on it that you should ensure that the body you are pumping millions into is transparent in its data collection and conforms to international best practice.

“There has been a fundamental change in what was published and that makes this whole scandal worse – you were still recording the figures – just being very creative with those that you published so as to make your five point plan look like it is working.”

Deputy O’Reilly added:

“The announcement by the INMO that they will take industrial action further underlines the fact that the Minister needs to take control of this situation and must stop blaming workers – at any level- and start looking for solutions.” ENDS

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