NPHET For Purpose


From top: Doctor Owen O Flynn discusses his experience with Covid-19 watched by Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health at a briefing last week; Senator Michael McDowell

This morning.

Independent Senator Michael McDowell in the Irish Times has called for public access to NPHET’s data, “raw or distilled” and its briefing or advice so its decisions can be “understood and evaluated”.

He writes:

If decisions are to be taken by the Government on the basis of Nphet data, modelling, projections and advice, is there any case for one comma of it to be kept secret? Is there any justification for according Nphet the function of sole State advocate or editor or interpreter of unseen data or propagator of secret proposals?

With Nphet allies being granted access to the airwaves to predict 20,000 or 30,000 deaths as has recently happened, surely we are entitled to know exactly what scenarios were painted by Nphet for the Government’s consideration – and in minute detail?

We know that some of their advice around nursing homes has been wrong in the past. Likewise, we know that they have flip-flopped dramatically on the safety and utility of mask-wearing.

Exactly what were the proportions of the projected crisis that they outlined to the Government which persuaded Ministers including the sceptical Leo Varadkar to “come on board” the Nphet agenda?

Senator McDowell added:

On September 3rd, RTÉ broadcast an item about an unfortunate young doctor who contracted Covid at the age of 23. The nation was informed in detail of the very serious effects and the dangers he encountered during his treatment.

A month later, the same young doctor was presented by Nphet at its daily press conference to repeat his sorry tale. That demonstrates that Nphet does not consider itself to be a purely advisory body to the Government, but also accords itself an advocacy role.

Michael McDowell: What exactly is the price of accepting this Nphet advice? (Irish Times)

Previously: Doogie O’Howser


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23 thoughts on “NPHET For Purpose

  1. GiggidyGoo

    Not often I’ve have time for McDowell, but he’s spot on here.

    Last minutes of NPHET was 24th September – a month ago. At that meeting, it was noted that the minutes for 31st Aug. and 3rd September…………..

    “Minutes of previous meetings
    The minutes of 31st August and 3rd September had been circulated to the NPHET in advance of the meeting. These were agreed to and formally adopted by the NPHET.”

    That leaves 3 weeks of meetings that minutes weren’t circulated to members of NPHET.

    1. Mr .T

      Could they just be a few weeks or more behind?
      Maybe meetings are recorded and then transcribed later by 1 intern in between all the other work, so minutes aren’t made available for weeks after the fact

      1. SOQ

        That is not how rolling meetings work. The minutes must be typed up and circulated before the next one so that items can be closed or amended.

  2. Jimmy TwoShoes

    I forgot how much I didn’t miss this pompous plonker being in the public arena for the last number of years.

  3. SOQ

    It is not very often I would agree with Michael McDowell either but in this case he is 100% correct. That the details of how they achieve such projections being kept secret is downright sinister.

    But, by leaking their proposals in advance- they are going even further than advocacy.

    1. Cian (the other one)

      You’re assuming that they’re leaking their proposals, rather than any of the politicians, or civil servants who have access to them.

      Do you have any evidence for accusing NPHET?

        1. Cian

          The politicians?
          They can see how the proposed level(s) are received and then tinker with the eventual level.

  4. bisted

    …it’s not often I agree with the pro-sickness lobby but there should be no secrecy around any aspect of the advice given by NPHET and how they arrive at it…I suspect all the members of NPHET would be in favour of this proposal…

    1. scottser

      and yet all cabinet decisions themselves are bound by a 30 year confidentiality rule. government is just a shed full of black pots and kettles roaring at each other.

        1. SOQ

          No- Philip Nolan and his coven of mystic megs are STILL using the imperial data in his model.

          This is what they are basing their projections on- except nobody is allowed to scrutinise them.

          1. SOQ

            He said so.

            Problem is their assumptions are completely out of date. It is widely accepted now that previous corona infections provide some level of immunity and that T Cells play a big part, but they still projecting on the basis that it is a completely new virus.

  5. george

    “his sorry tale” – disgusting and disrespectful from one of Ireland’s most unpleasant politicians.

  6. John

    Once again everyone including Michael McDowell is falling for the NPHET scapegoat.
    NPHET is an advisory body set up by the state and it delivers its recommendations to the state. It is up to the state through the HSE to decide what part of that gets published to the public.
    Everyone is focused on NPHET when they are just one of the inputs into the people who make the decisions.
    It is up to the decision makers in government and the HSE what gets implemented. They are only too happy to have NPHET out there taking the publics ire when they are not in a position to make anything at all public only that which the Government allows them to.
    Don’t fall for the slight of hand deception. NPHETs hands are tied on this.
    A real cynic might claim that Michael McDowell is being put up to this by the Government to focus attention away from where the decisions are really being made.

    1. SOQ

      Just a s matter of interest John and I am not saying you are wrong- who else do you think government take advice from?

      1. John

        That is a really good question.
        NPHET is the only one being pushed out in front of the media.
        From listening to government types on the radio, the other people they seem to be taking advice and inputs from are vested interests and lobby groups, (GAA, vintners, restaurants, IBEC etc). What their data is I dont know either.
        It highlights a lack of transparency across the board.
        It still doesn’t alter the situation where NPHET are not the ones that can release the data unless they are directed to by their government masters. It should be an easy thing for the government to do.

          1. V AKA Frilly Keane

            Said so many times
            And to add
            This is why the SME sector should have its own Minister
            With a full department

            All our artists, creators, musicians, writers, crafts people and trades
            Local traders retailers and suppliers
            Including single practitioners like meself
            Are in this sector

            It is here in this sector that the revolution and stand against AI and Alogrithmics (haha thanks Dec) Globalisation, Big Tech and Multinationals influencing Government decisions while extracting cash
            Will be

        1. bisted

          …NPHET seem fairly well down the list when it comes to having their advice heeded…maybe if it was animals…track and trace found how foot and mouth was introduced to Ireland…Cheltenham Races were even cancelled…

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