The DUP [health] minister [Edwin Poots} has said his controversial decision – to deny gay men the opportunity to donate blood – is based on two pieces of evidence — a letter from the Minister for Health in the Republic and a document on the issue by the European Department for the Quality of Medicines and Healthcare (EDQMH).
The letter from Dr James Reilly TD (above) sent to Mr Poots at the end of May said that the lifetime ban on gay men donating blood exists in Ireland “is based not only on risk factors for HIV but on other blood borne agents known to be associated with MSM (men who have sex with men) behaviour”.
The ban on gay men giving blood in Northern Ireland is irrational, A High Court judge ruled today.
Mr Justice Treacy also held that health minister Edwin Poots breached the ministerial code by failing to take the issue before the Stormont Executive. His verdict in a challenge brought by an unidentified homosexual man represents a major victory for campaigners seeking equal status with the rest of the UK. Mr Justice Treacy heard claims that the minister has displayed apparent bias which went beyond religious beliefs and into the realms of prejudice.
Further to the confirmation by Minister for Health James Relly (above) that medical card holders who have cancer will lose their card unless they have a written note from their doctor saying the condition is terminal.
Dermot Bohan writes:
I would be much appreciated if you brought some attention to these new developments concerning cancer patients and the medical card on broadsheet.ie in case it goes under the radar with all the press coverage the abortion debate is getting at the moment.
I am literally shaking with rage after reading these articles.
I watched my father fight and ultimately lose a battle with cancer over a number of years and one of the feelings I remember was thinking that at least we’re not alone in this and the state actually cares.
To see the horrible effect that the treatment, let alone the disease itself, has on the sufferer is horrendous. After receiving chemo treatment, the patient can barely move, with all energy knocked out of them, they need to focus all their available energy on fighting this disease without the added worry of having to raise the funds to pay for all the treatment and medicines. As you can imagine, it would be very easy to give in and give up under these circumstances.
Now the government is saying that unless there is absolutely no hope for you, don’t come calling. For me, this is truly a move that has crossed a line today. Words can not describe the contempt I am feeling for those in power right now.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny on Health Minister James Reilly to RTÉ’s Fran McNulty on RTÉ Radio One’s This Week yesterday.
Fran McNulty: “The main question I’m asking is: Do you think James Reilly is doing a good job?
Enda Kenny: “Yes, I do.”
McNulty: “You do? Yet, despite, you still feel the need to work with him more closely which, in your own words, means you want to make sure he achieves standards.”
Kenny: “Minister Reilly has an enormous work to do. And it’s not just about Minister Reilly. He’s operating on behalf of Government but with Ministers of State (Kathleen) Lynch and (Alex) White, and that trio are leading the structural changes that need to be made in the area of health together now, with the implementation of the Health Service Executive plan. What I can say about Minister Reilly is this, that he has always had a genuine, personal concern for putting patients first.
“And we set out, in this programme for Government, to introduce universal health insurance at the end of our programme. This is a long and challenging road but remember it is about providing the very best service and attention for people who need it, based on their medical requirements, as distinct from what they’ve got in their pocket. So, of all of the hills to be climbed here, health is one that remains challenging. And it’s one that I’m going to help the minister and his team, and all of those involved in the health area, to implement. To see that we can actually achieve what we want to achieve.”
Minister for Health James Reilly’s constituency office contacted his department eight times before the announcement of a Government stimulus package last July seeking updates on plans to develop a primary care centre in Balbriggan.
Dr Reilly has come under fire over the addition of locations in Balbriggan and Swords in his constituency to a list for primary care centres drawn up by the HSE and his then minister of state Róisín Shortall.
Documents released by the department yesterday include a handwritten note by a civil servant maintaining that a ministerial adviser was told about advanced plans to develop the Balbriggan centre by leasing rather than through a public-private partnership (PPP) arrangement under the stimulus package. The note says the adviser consulted Dr Reilly and that Swords and Balbriggan were to remain on the PPP list.