Tag Archives: HSE


From top: Irish medical cards: John Wall.

Early last month, Father-of-three John Wall, who who was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer, revealed that his emergency medical card was reviewed six months after it was issued, and then revoked two months after that.

A lot has happened since.

John Wall writes:

‘It seems like a lifetime ago now, but it’s just over 8 weeks since I put out that infamous tweet about my medical card or to be precise, the fact that I did not have one as a result of The HSE’s decision to take it back.

I’m sure if they could turn back time, I would be top of their list to appease.

Their decision to repeatedly ignore one simple question has backfired dramatically.

Why was my medical card, that was granted as a result of a terminal diagnosis, subsequently cancelled based on a means test, which according to The Department of Health’s own website never applied?”

So what’s happened since….. It’s been a busy spell with lots of welcome publicity on the issue.

Remember, I’m speaking out on behalf of the thousands that are unable, that are stuck in a system their unable to navigate and are screaming for help without being heard.

Until I see decisions regarding medical cards being taken based on the patients needs rather than the size of their wallet, I will continue to shout.

I’ve raised several important issues with The Ombudsman’s Office, mostly pertaining to the administration of The Medical Card Scheme, all of which have been upheld and are currently being investigated.

In fact as a result of these complaints, a review is also underway within The HSE as to how the scheme is governed.

Of note also is the fact that The Ombudsman published a report in January 2018 in relation to The Treatment Abroad Scheme.

My experience of attempting to even submit an application for life prolonging treatment abroad was thwarted by my consultant qand as a consequence, I was unable to use the scheme.

How many patients are treated in a similar fashion, but unlike myself do not have private cover to fall back on and as a result do not receive the life prolonging surgery that I was fortunate to be able to have?

Running alongside all of the above is my forthcoming meeting with Minister Simon Harris which takes place at the end of this month.

This meeting is crucial as it will I hope, lead to a solution that will ensure a more transparent and equitable medical card system for all.

I’m not advocating medical cards for all but I am seeking fairness.

I have encountered so many people and heard of so many stories, where citizens of this state are being abandoned simply because of a box that cannot be ticked by a departmental official with scant regard for the person involved.

On a positive note, this whole debacle has allowed be to utilise the traction to create awareness surrounding men’s health, both physical and mental.

I’ve found that men in particular are reticent to discuss their health, most especially when it pertains to certain parts of their anatomy that ordinarily we brag about!

Prostate Cancer has brought about changes that are life changing and for me that includes erectile dysfunction and slight incontinence also.

I’m not ashamed of who I am nor what I’ve got, because inside I’m still the same person.

That’s one thing my illness will never take away.

I’ll finish by reminding you all to take nothing for granted, enjoy the simple things that life has to offer and never shy away from telling those close to you that you love them.

John Wall

Previously: John Wall on Broadsheet

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Hello you.

This afternoon.

Rochestown Avenue, Dún Laoghaire, County Dublin

Fine Gael TD, Maria Bailey (above right and pic 2 with Catherine Byrne TD)) joined, top from left: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe and Minister for Health Simon Harris at the launch of the government’s publication of the HSE Capital Plan in the National Rehabilitation Hospital, in Ms Bailey’s constituency.

They write themselves.

Eamonn Farrell/Rollingnews

Earlier…

Minister for Health Simon Harris said the plan provides certainty for capital spending for the next three years and will deliver 250 projects.

Earlier, speaking on Today With Seán O’Rourke, Mr Harris said all of the projects promised, under Project Ireland 2040, are now secure.

He said some of the projects have already started and there were no projects delayed as a result of the increased cost of the National Children’s Hospital.

There’s genuinely no delayed projects and the reason for that is quite simple. Paschal Donohoe made a decision in the Summer Economic Statement, which has allowed me to do this, where he set aside what he called a reserve, and that reserve is to meet the cost of the children’s hospital and the cost of broadband. It allowed to me to give the HSE certainty over its funding for 2020,” he added.

250 projects covered in €2.1bn health funding plan (RTE)

Eamonn Farrell/Rollingnews

CervicalCheck; Dublin City University president Prof Brian MacCraith

The Irish Times is reporting that a woman, who wants to be identified as Ms Scullion, made contact with the newspaper in the wake of Dublin City University president Prof Brian MacCraith’s report on delays in the issuing cervical screening HPV retest results to women.

The delays related to a Quest Diagnostics’ laboratory based at Chantilly in Virginia, USA, and Prof MacCraith found that 4,088 cases were affected by an IT problem.

Some 873 women who had repeat HPV tests were not sent results while, in the case of the remaining 3,215 women, results were sent to GPs but not to the women themselves.

Ms Scullion told The Irish Times that she was one of the 873 women and that she received a letter on Tuesday, August 6, telling her that she tested negative for HPV in her HPV retest.

But, Ms Scullion told the the newspaper, she is HPV positive – and she knows this from a previous test.

Further to this…

Marie O’Halloran reports in The Irish Times:

…The HSE on Wednesday confirmed that almost half of the 873 women received a letter in the last week from CervicalCheck that “contained an inaccuracy”.

…In a statement, the HSE said in the letters sent out, “we also confirmed that the result of these women’s HPV re-test was unchanged ‘and remains HPV negative’. However, for some women, this should have read ‘and remains HPV positive’. This was an error on our part and we are very sorry for any confusion it may have caused.”

*Thud*

CervicalCheck sends letter with incorrect test results to 400 women (Marie O’Halloran, The Irish Times)

Previously: No Checks

Trolley Gar (Department of Health)

Thanks Johnny Green

RTÉ’s Áine Lawlor; Dr Peter McKenna of the HSE

This afternoon on RTÉ’s News At One.

Journalist Áine Lawlor spoke to Dr Peter McKenna, the clinical director of the women’s and infants’ programme with the HSE – after nobody from the HSE was available to speak to RTÉ’s earlier shows Morning Ireland or Today with Seán O’Rourke.

The lunchtime interview followed it emerging last night that approximately 800 women who had CervicalCheck tests carried out between October 1, 2018, and June 25, 2019, have not received their test results.

This has been blamed on an IT issue at a Quest Diagnostics laboratory in Virginia in the US.

Most of the women affected were getting repeat tests for the human papillomavirus HPV – which can cause cervical cancer – because Quest had previously failed to carry out HPV testing on the women’s initial smears within the 30-day limit.

RTÉ reported last night that the HSE told the Department of Health on Wednesday that it became aware of the IT problem in June.

This lunchtime, Dr McKenna told Ms Lawlor that the HSE knew there was a “computer glitch” in February.

From the interview:

Áine Lawlor: “The lesson on Gabriel Scally’s report about open disclosure and honesty and transparency with the women who are fundamental to the future of CervicalCheck and who depend on CervicalCheck – that lesson has not been learned by the health service.”

Dr Peter McKenna: “I wouldn’t agree with that, in principle. I think that there’s elements of this problem that only emerged to the HSE in the last ten days or so. And the extent of what needs to be communicated with women is not yet currently absolutely certain.”

Lawlor: “OK, well let’s try and establish the facts. So we’re talking about 800-plus women who had repeated cervical smear tests done between October 2018 and June 2019. Is that right?”

McKenna: “Yes, and these are women whose cytology results were known and they had a minor degree of abnormality and in order to see whether they needed to go for coloposcopy or not, an additional test of HPV was carried out.”

Lawlor: “So, in lay person’s language, they had had a previous smear test that had shown some abnormalities related to HPV and this was a repeat smear test to see whether there’d been any changes. Is that right?”

McKenna: “It’s a refinement, it’s a, a papaloma test, rather than a repeat smear test.”

Lawlor: “OK, so it was a more advanced test.”

McKenna: “It was a more advanced test, now, if you…”

Lawlor: “And the computer broke down when?”

McKenna: “No, no, sorry, just to go back even further than that. These 800 women were women who had had a HPV test carried out but, as you may remember, towards the end of last year, it transpired that the tests had been done on an out-of-date kit. I don’t know if that…”

Lawlor: “I think everybody remembers every twist and turn of this unfortunately Dr McKenna. So they had gone for tests again after that, is that right?”

McKenna: “No, so the kit was out of date. And those women that had come back as positive – they were treated as if the result was correct.

“And those women, who the result had come back as negative, it was said ‘no, we should take this seriously and we will repeat the test’. And so, 800 of these women, whose tests have come back as negative initially on the HPV, were then retested.”

Lawlor: “OK. And when did the computer breakdown?

McKenna:It was known in February that there was a computer glitch and…”

Lawlor: “Where was it known exactly, Dr Peter McKenna, because most of us knew nothing about this until yesterday and today. So the question is: this computer failure goes back to February.

Who knew about that back in February? And who has known about that since?

McKenna: “Well, my understanding is that, if I could just finish, that it was known in February and…”

Lawlor: “By whom?”

McKenna: “In whom the tests results altered were informed by CervicalCheck in February. So there was a small number of the 800 women, in whom the results were different, and they were informed directly by CervicalCheck. So the women who were affected were informed as soon as it was known.”

Lawlor: “But who knew about the fail…what does the computer failure involve? When did it happen and who knew about it?”

McKenna: “The computer is designed to…the computer of the labs overseas is designed to communicate with the computer here. And that triggers a, a cascade of letters. It was appreciated that wasn’t working and a manual system was put in place, as far as the HSE knew.”

Lawlor: “OK, it was appreciated by whom? Who appreciated this? And who made the decision to put the manual system in place? And why was none of this made public?”

McKenna: “Right. The answer to the names, I couldn’t give you. I don’t know. But however, it was appreciated within the screening service because the screening service put alternative, manual arrangements in place.”

Lawlor: “And did the HSE know that these computers weren’t working? And that manual arrangements were now being put in place to write to women? And was anybody checking that that was actually happening?”

McKenna: “The service did know that the computers were not speaking to each other – that is absolutely correct and the HSE were reassured by the fact that the women were being written to manually, or sorry, their GPs were being written to manually.”

Lawlor: “So the women’s doctors were being written to, by whom? Who was responsible for…”

McKenna: “By the laboratory.”

Lawlor: “By the laboratory.”

McKenna: “Yeah.”

Lawlor: “So CervicalCheck told the HSE and everybody understood that the laboratories would write to the women…”

McKenna: “Would write to the GPs….”

Lawlor: “Would write to the women’s doctors…”

McKenna: “Yeah…”

Lawlor: “And when did it emerge that this was not happening?

McKenna: This only came to the knowledge of the screening programme and the HSE in early July.

Lawlor:In early July, but a number of months had passed. Had it not occurred to anybody to get back and check, given the sensitivity and, as you say, there have a lot of twists and turns in all of this and we have had the Scally Report which has emphasised the importance of transparency – particularly if women are to go on turning up for smear tests as part of the cervical screening programme.”

McKenna: “I can absolutely understand that question. The HSE and the screening are very disappointed that the arrangement that they thought had been put in place wasn’t working. And this will be investigated as to why this element was not followed through by the contractor.”

Lawlor: “But this is what happened in the first place isn’t it? Somebody thought somebody was telling the women but nobody was?”

McKenna: “No, it’s not quite the same as that. That was the result of an audit. This is probably, in some ways, more important than actual clinical results – there was a delay in communication.”

Lawlor: I’m still kind of flabbergasted. Just one other thing – did the minister know? The minister’s department? We know that the HSE knew about this and understood it was being dealt with by the laboratory, and this only emerged in the last while, that you found out that the letters weren’t happening.

Was the minister’s office across this?

McKenna: “I would not…I don’t know the answer to that. I’m sorry.”

Lawlor: “OK, so you don’t know whether the Department of Health was involved?”

McKenna: “I don’t. No.”

Lawlor: “You said you can understand why women might not have confidence after everything. I mean this comes across like almost like a last straw, doesn’t it, for many women?”

McKenna: “It certainly doesn’t sound good. But I think it’s important to point out that these women have had cervical cytology – they do not have a severe grade of cervical abnormality. If they did they would have been referred directly to colposcopy. This is a delay in communicating the result of a second or a refined test which would indicate whether they should or shouldn’t go on to colposcopy.”

Lawlor: “Well we appreciate you coming on the programme to talk to us today.”

Listen back in full here

Earlier: ‘Why Wait Until An Hour After The Dáil Goes Into Recess To Let The Information Out Publicly?’

Meanwhile…

 

 

Good times.

Update:

No moves to break deadlock as SIPTU health strike looms (RTÉ)

Tonight.

Tomorrow’s strike by hospital support staff has been called off to allow for further talks.

SIPTU representatives confirmed this evening that their 24 hour workplace stoppage planned for tomorrow was being deferred pending the outcome of emergency talks at the WorkplaceÉRelations Commission….

Health support staff strike called off to allow for talks at the WRC (RTÉ)

Rollingnews

This afternoon.

The HSE ‘leadership team’, including recently-appointed Director General Paul Reid (above centre), raise rainbow flags to mark the beginning of “LGBT Pride Month” and to “demonstrate the HSE’s commitment to creating an inclusive workplace, welcoming and supportive of all of its employees”.

The event was organised by the employee support group – the HSE LGBTI + Allies Network which supports employees who identify as LGBTI to participate fully in the workforce “through bringing their entire identity into the workplace”.

Above: (from left back) Conor O’Neil, Cathy Blake, Ray Leonard, (from left centre) Brian Hassett, Michele Guerin, (from left front) Patrick Lynch, Paul Reidand Aidan Moyles members Of LGBTI+Aillies Network.

 Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

Fine Gael Midlands-North-West MEP Mairead McGuinness

 

Independent European Election Candidate and patient rights activist Olive O’Connor.

FIGHT!

Olive O’Connor

Um.

This morning

CC writes:

Former District Hospital Thurles. This toilet is used by patients in the mental health services day hospital. Whilst it’s highly unlikely that any of the construction staff would invade the privacy of patients, you’d think the HSE would at the very least put up some blinds or a blackout window film temporarily (€4 avg Lidl and Aldi). I don’t think it’s going to break the bank to do this…