Tag Archives: HSE

Minister of Health Stephen Donnelly

This morning.

An open letter to Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly from mental health service user Lisa Naylor.

Minister Donnelly,

‘I am a 35 year old mother of one living in Dublin. I won’t bore you with a lengthy backstory, but I have struggled with my mental health for the majority of my life. Depression, self-harm and a personality disorder are just a few of my difficulties. As a result, I have been accessing public and private psychiatric services for 17 years. I have been linked in with my current local mental health clinic in Coolock since 2014.

At the beginning of this year I suffered a pregnancy loss which negatively impacted my mental state. Shortly after this, Covid-19 hit and we went into lockdown and I deteriorated further, relapsing into old, maladaptive coping strategies.

Fortunately, the registrar assigned to me was incredible and offered plenty of support and guidance. She scheduled phone appointments with me every 2-4 weeks (if you aren’t aware, this is considered intensive support by the HSE).

I was still struggling to stay afloat, like many people during this pandemic, but at least I had that lifeline – the appointments with my doctor. Being honest and open with someone over the phone was difficult, but I knew my doctor and trusted her so it made the Covid restricted appointments easier. My depression was worsening but I was coping; I was surviving, with help.

When the phone rang on the 3rd of August I answered immediately. I was in desperate need of that supportive and rational voice on the other end of the phone. However the voice on the other end was unfamiliar.

The registrars had rotated in between my appointments and now a complete stranger was asking me how I was feeling. I don’t think I can accurately describe how unsettling and jarring this was, being asked to show my emotional scars and vulnerability to a stranger. A stranger who hadn’t read my file. The appointment ended with them telling me to continue doing what the previous doctor had advised. It was a waste of time.

My next appointment was scheduled for 3 months’ time. The intensive support had been withdrawn.

Life carried on, Covid continued, my depression and anxiety increased. I had another pregnancy loss. Then lockdown 2 was announced and the months of loneliness, despair and fear overtook me. I sobbed until there were no more tears, until I nearly threw up. Sharp objects started to look so appealing; I drank and ate more trying to quell the growing despair.

My appointment was scheduled for the 3rd of November and I knew I needed to speak up; to give my new doctor a chance to help me. I had to try.

I was sitting in the kitchen, my toddler running riot behind me, when the phone rang. I took a deep breath and readied myself to be honest and forthright. I told them I was struggling, that I was anxious, that I had had a miscarriage; that I was struggling. When asked about a scale of 1-10, 1 being the worst, I explained I was a 3 every day. This is a snapshot of the response I received:

“How is your child?”

“I hope you haven’t been binge-eating”

“Have you ever self-harmed?”

“Do you get irritable? Make sure you don’t let that turn to anger as it wouldn’t be nice for your husband.”

“Just wrap your child up warmer and bring him for a walk” (He’s 2 and it’s November)

“I was going to discharge you today, but given what you’ve said I will give you one more appointment in 3 months”

Minister, can you please explain to me how, in the space of a few months and in the midst of a pandemic, I went from intensive support to being ready for discharge? How a person who has never met me can decide that I no longer need help? A person who didn’t even know that I self-harm, who was more concerned with my son and husband than me. This is what happens when you underfund a vital service: Doctors who are poorly trained and/or have no incentive to do good work.

At this point in my life I am a veteran of the HSE’s mental health services so I was able to temper my reaction to being so dismissed. If that had happened 5 years ago, my response to being so horribly disregarded would been catastrophic.

I now apparently have one remaining appointment in the clinic in Coolock. I am severely depressed and fighting not to lapse back into self-harm and my eating disorder. I feel helpless and rejected.

How many other patients are experiencing similar feelings, with doctors being rotated when appointments are phone only? How can you expect people who are mentally ill to trust in a stranger when they can’t even trust themselves?

The mental health service was in dire straits before Covid-19 and we as a country were losing too many people to suicide as a result. If the current system continues, if you keep expecting those that are suffering (the ones lucky enough to be given access to psychiatric services) to ask a stranger for help through a phone, the number of suicides will rise exponentially.

You need to do better, for those that cannot do better on their own.’


Lisa Naylor


HSE Chief Clinical Officer Dr Colm Henry

This morning.

The HSE has suspended distribution of the flu vaccine to GPs and pharmacies after it emerged that claims for 600,000 doses are missing.

In a letter sent to doctors and pharmacists on Monday, the HSE said that approximately 1.3 million vaccines have been distributed to date, but only 700,000 of those have been recorded as administered vaccines on the claims system used by healthcare professionals to reimburse costs.

As a result, it is not clear whether or not the remaining 600,000 vaccines have been administered.


Via RTÉ News:

The Health Service Executive has rejected newspaper reports that hundreds of thousands of doses of the flu vaccine have gone missing.

The executive’s Chief Clinical Officer said 50,000 doses were held back to ensure they are delivered to those areas most in need.

Dr Colm Henry said there have been unprecedented levels of demand for the vaccine this year and 1.3 million doses have been distributed already – an increase of 20% from the same period last year and the most the HSE has ever distributed.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, he said the HSE normally holds back a certain amount of the vaccine to ascertain where the gaps and priority areas around the country are and where the vaccine needs to be delivered to.

HSE won’t release any new flu vaccine jabs as 600,000 ‘go missing’ (Independent.ie)

HSE rejects claims over missing flu vaccine (RTÉ)


Top from left: HSE CEO Paul Reid; Anne O’Connor, Chief Operations Officer, HSE; Dr Colm Henry, Chief Clinical Officer, HSE; and Clare O’Leary, Senior Physiotherapist, Integrated Care Team for Older Persons, Tallaght, HSE

This afternoon.

Dr Steevens’ Hospital, Dublin 2.

HSE CEO Paul Reid (above) leads the weekly HSE operational update on the response to the rona.


The minister [Stephen Donnelly] said the Government’s plan is to “open back up in the first week of December”, adding that various methods of doing so will be considered closer to this time.

“It could be Level 3. There is a possibility that it might be Level 2, or maybe a regional approach would be taken.”

He said it is “very much our intention that retail is open for what is their most important time of the year“.

Govt plan is to ‘open back up first week in December’ (RTÉ)


From top: Bryan Dobson; HSE Specialist in Public Health Medicine Dr Sarah Doyle 

This lunchtime.

On RTÉ Radio One’s News At One.

Dr Sarah Doyle, Specialist in Public Health Medicine, spoke to Bryan Dobson about the contact-tracing controversy.

Thousands of people, who have tested positive for Covid-19 have recieved texts today telling them to carry out their own contact-tracing.

From their conversation:

Bryan Dobson: “Is it inevitable that infections will be missed as a result?”

Dr Sarah Doyle: “Well, I think that, and you’ve just mentioned Bryan, that people who may receive potentially shocking news and I would acknowledge that this will come as a shock to some people and then some people may take it somewhat in their stride, and it might be more difficult for others. And what I would say is to people to draw a breath, sit down, maybe have a chat with a friend and just reflect on what we’re asking people to do in this, is to identify their close contacts.

“Obviously, if they’re unwell, they would still need to phone their GP and make contact with them. And I guess what this is about and what contact tracing is about, and it’s a part of a number of different public health measures, to manage this pandemic. What it is about is identifying as many people at risk of spreading infection as possible and ensuring that they do…”

Dobson: “Yes…”

Doyle: “…what is needed to prevent the spread of infection. So…”

Dobson: “But do you…”

Doyle: “…those people who have had positive test results they now get a text message as soon as we have that result, they get that result…”

Dobson: “Yeah…but can you…”

Doyle: “… and from that point they should be self-isolating….”

Dobson: “OK…”

Doyle: “….and cutting down claims of transmission…”

Dobson: “Are you….”

Doyle: “…and…identifying close contacts. Acknowledging that obviously it is not…”

Dobson: “Doctor Doyle, it’s a straightforward question. Do you accept that infections will be missed as a result of this?”


Dobson: “And I think we seem to have lost our link to Dr Sarah Doyle, of the HSE. No, she’s gone? Ok, well we’ll continue on this….”

Earlier: Trace The Blame


Above from left: Paul Reid, CEO, HSE; Anne O’Connor, Chief Operations Officer, HSE; and Dr Colm Henry, Chief Clinical Officer, HSE.

This afternoon.

Steevens’  Lane, Dublin 8.

The media briefing for the weekly HSE operational update on the response to Covid-19.


Paul Reid, HSE CEO, said 238 people are in hospital with Covid-19, an increase of 24 on last night.

The number of people in intensive care units has fallen slightly to 29.

He said of the 8,500 people who have contracted Covid-19 between 29th September and 12th October, 245 people have been admitted to hospital, and 22 admitted to ICU.

Mr Reid said 25% of these hospitalisations have been in people under 35, 27% have been aged 35-64 and 47% are in the 65 and over category.

He said nine people aged 35-64 have been admitted to ICU in this time period and 13 have been aged 65 and over.

HSE sees ‘concerning growth’ in hospitalisations (RTÉ)

Earlier: Scales Fall

Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly

Last night.

Patient advocate and father-of- three John Wall, aged 49, from Quin, Co Clare, who, following a diagnosis of terminal prostate cancer, had his Emergency Medical Card abruptly revoked and then restored last year by then Minister for Health Simon Harris.

John had got assurances that a commitment to review the Terminal Illness Card with specific reference to the current necessity to be have a prognosis of 12 months or less left to live, would be addressed.

However, all reference to the card was omitted from Budget 2021 material supplied yesterday.


Previously: John Wall on Broadsheet

From left: Minister of State in the Department of Health, Mary Butler; HSE CEO Paul Reid this morning launching the Health Service Executive’s Winter Plan

This morning.

Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, Setanta Place, Dublin.

The new Health Service Executive’s Winter Plan has been published.


Under the 30-page plan, approved by the Department of Health, most of the extra €600m in funding is to be provided next year – €200m will be spent this year and €400m next year.

The Winter Plan covers the period from now up to April 2021.

The plan promises 20,000 more planned procedures. It says that trolley counts will be cut by 30%.

Also 20 Community Assessment Hubs are to be in place to help keep patients out of hospital.

It is unclear exactly how many extra medical, nursing and other health staff will be recruited to service these extra beds and what facilities are to be put in place.

Just under five million extra home support hours are to be provided


HSE delivers details of Winter Plan for health service (RTÉ)


Part of The Report Card for the HSE/Department of Health Covid tracker app includes reference to Google Firebase and Twillo possibly obtaining patient data

This morning/afternoon.

The Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) and Digital Rights Ireland (DRI) have issued a report card evaluating the HSE/Department of Health Covid-19 tracker app prior to its launch.

How did it do?

Regarding the app’s efficacy, experts have given the app a D.

Dr Stephen Farrell, Research Fellow, School of Computer Science and Statistics, Trinity College Dublin (speaking in a personal capacity, said:

“We have no clear evidence before us that the app accurately detects close contacts to Covid-19. In the alternative, our independent research shows that app signalling accuracy varies substantially depending on user environments.”

Regarding the app’s clear and limited purpose, experts have given the app a D.

ICCL’s Information Rights Director Elizabeth Farries said:

“European data protection guidance says Covid-19 apps must pursue a single purpose of contact tracing to alert people potentially exposed to Covid-19. Unfortunately, location data and symptom tracking extend beyond this single purpose.”

Regarding the app’s statutory oversight, experts have given the app a C.

Digital Rights Ireland Director Antóin Ó Lachtnáin said:

“We would question the legal basis of consent the government appears to be relying on under the GDPR. Furthermore, long term, we are very concerned that Google/Apple will have ultimate control over most of the EU’s Covid-19 app ecosystem, and not our governments.”

We’re not angry.

Just disappointed.


Full report card here.

Experts Issue Pre-Release Report Card on the HSE Covid-19 Tracker App (ICCL)



Department of Health, Baggott Street, Dublin 2.

People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett (middle pic centre) joined protesters from the Campaign for an All- Ireland National Health Service (CAINHS) which was launched last month and who held a National Day of Action yesterday.

Yesterday: The Cost Of Going Private

Leah Farrell/RollingNews