Ahern Defends Record On Health Services

The Taoiseach has defended the Government’s record on health services, saying he wanted to see services improved for the long term.

Bertie Ahern told the Dáil it was ‘just wrong’ to say that services were worse, because the figures showed improvements.

He said he has confidence in the 130,000 people trying to deliver a health service to 4.2 million people every day.

He described as ‘fine people’ those working in operating theatres and in the community health settings as well as those trying to diagnose and implement treatments.

The Taoiseach was responding to a question from Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny about the lessons learnt from the three reports into the Midlands Regional Hospital in Portlaoise.

Mr Kenny said the findings of the reports were quite damning about the way the health system responds to situations in the country.

The reports, he said, showed that the HSE is bloated and overcentralised and disconnected from the patients it is supposed to serve.

He asked the Taoiseach if he had public confidence in the management capacity of this ‘bloated bureaucratic monster’.

The Taoiseach said the reports showed there are serious problems that have to be addressed.

Mr Ahern rejected Labour leader Eamon Gilmore’s assertion that the health services have got worse.

Mr Ahern said it was not a question of blame but about what is being done to improve services.

He said the figures showed a dramatic improvement in cancer services and that patients were being treated better and diagnosed earlier.

He said he just wanted to make the health system better and see services improved in long term.