Tag Archives: Simon Harris

John Wall (left) and Minister for Health Simon Harris

This evening.

Father-of- three John Wall, aged 48, from Quin, Co Clare, who following a diagnosis of terminal prostate cancer had his Emergency Medical Card abruptly revoked twice, writes:

I met today with Minister of Health Simon Harris and senior representatives from the Department of Health, Primary Care Reimbursement Service and the HSE.

The meeting lasted well over an hour.

A full apology was received from the Deprtment of Health and the HSE for my experience to date regarding the Medical Card fiasco

Initially, the minister committed to establishing a review group to ensure that my issues are not repeated. Items to be reviewed include the application process, patient communications and generally enhancing the process to ensure a more streamlined experience.

That group will be comprised of department officials, representatives from various NGOs, including the Irish Cancer Society, Marie Keating Foundation and myself. It will be established before the end of November.

Of significance, there was 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.

I have campaigned for this period to be significantly extended as it is my firm belief that terminal patients should be entitled to a terminal illness card without the current limitation attached.

Of note is that, once approved, this type of card will never be reviewed nor ever expire.

Separately, I will be working alongside the National Cancer Control Programme as a patient representative which will give me a platform to influence the National Cancer Strategy from a patient’s perspective.

Overall, it was a very productive meeting that met expectations and will lead to significant change which will, in turn, lead to a significant overhaul of the Medical Card system and the associated application process.

I very much look forward to working alongside the various government departments for some time to come and very much welcome the minister’s intervention, commitment and time on issues that have personally become very important to resolve and, as a result of today’s meeting, I am confident they will be.

In fairness.

Previously: John Wall: Notes On A #medicalcardscandal

They Come Up Against A Wall

From top: John Wall and medical card entitlement for ‘Frontier Workers’



Frontier worker?

Rollingnews/ Clare FM

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Health Minister Simon Harris

He [Simon Harris] became health minister in 2016, in a government led by Enda Kenny, his political mentor and then-leader of the center-right Fine Gael.

When Kenny resigned a year later, Harris backed Simon Coveney, now deputy head of the Irish government, to be his successor. But current Prime Minister Leo Varadkar won instead.

Harris was the only one from the old government to keep his job.

He is now careful to stress his support for Varadkar and said he doesn’t want to take the top job anytime soon.

“I’m very supportive of our current Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, who is obviously a young Taoiseach [and] doing a brilliant job,” Harris told POLITICO.

His comments about his own professional future, he explained, just mean “I wouldn’t rule out the possibility” of becoming PM.

The next Irish PM? (Carmen Paun POLITICO, August 11, 2019)

‘The next Irish PM?’ – Simon Harris stokes ambitions to be Taoiseach (Hugh O’Connell, Irish Independent, August 14, 2019)


Minister for Health Simon Harris

This morning.

It has emerged that 52 of the 800 women impacted by the reported IT problems in the Quest Diagnostics laboratory have contracted the HPV virus.

Social Democrats co-leader Róisín Shortall has called on the Minister for Health Simon Harris to “provide immediate answers” to the following:

1. Have all 52 women who tested positive for HPV on the Quest retest been notified of their results?

2. Have they all been referred for appropriate follow-up?

3. Have the other 750 women and their GPs been notified of their retest results?

4. What is the level of clinical risk for the 52 women who tested positive?

5. What action was taken by the HSE in February when they became aware of these problems with Quest?

6. Why were the Patient Advocates not informed of these issues at the Steering Group meeting on 26th June?

7. What action does the Minister intend to take to restore public confidence in CervicalCheck?

8. Does the Minister intend to review the Quest contract in light of these quality control failures?”


52 more positive for HPV in test scandal (Irish Examiner)

Yesterday: When Did he Know?


Minister for Health Simon Harris

This morning.

Via RTE:

Correspondence obtained by RTÉ News has revealed that a private secretary to the Minister for Health wrote on 6 June to the woman whose case exposed the latest CervicalCheck crisis.

The letter to ‘Sharon’ says that: “The Minister for Health, Simon Harris, T. D. has asked me to thank you for your correspondence concerning CervicalCheck and would like to again apologise for any distress this delay has caused you and reassure you that this is a priority for his Department and the Health Service Executive (HSE).”

Last weekend, the department said that it became aware of the existence of an IT issue on 25 June through information supplied by the Health Service Executive.

Minister Harris has said the matter was first escalated to him last Wednesday evening, 10 July.

Minister’s office wrote to woman at centre of latest CervicalCheck issue on 6 June (RTÉ)

Previously: ‘I’m Still Kind Of Flabbergasted’


Good times.


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

Ah here.

This morning.

Tallaght University Hospital.

Minister for Health Simon Harris at the launch of a new CRY (Cardiac Risk in the Young) Centre at Tallaght Hospital with Tommy Fegan Chairman of CRY Ireland.

The centre will facilitate free cardiac assessments and support to individuals and families who have lost loved ones to Sudden Cardiac Death or are affected by inherited cardiac conditions.

It’s not a caption competition until you insist.

Sasko Lazarov/Rollingnews

Minister for Health Simon Harris

Thiis afternoon.

At the Oireachtas Health Committee.

More as we get it.

Earlier: Deconstructing Health

This morning.

Minister for Hashtags Health Simon Harris is before the Oireachtas health committee.

It follows the publication of the PwC review of the National Children’s Hospital yesterday – which warns the total cost of the hospital could breach the current estimate of €1.7 billion.

It also follows Fianna Fáil leader Mícheál Martin yesterday asking Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to request that Mr Harris address the Dáil about the timeline of events which took place before he announced, via Twitter, free out-of-cycle smear tests for concerned women following the High Court case taken by Limerick’s Vicky Phelan.

Women are now waiting up to a record 33 weeks for results of the smear tests, while the backlog currently stands at just under 79,500.

Last week it emerged that the former clinical director of CervicalCheck Gráinne Flannelly had  written to the health committee – saying she advised against the State offering free repeat smear tests as she believed there were insufficient laboratory resources.

Ms Flannelly stepped down after the CervicalCheck scandal broke.

RTÉ News reports:

Mr [Stephen] Donnelly [Fianna Fáil TD] asked the minister to correct the Dáil record given the evidence the committee has received about the decision to offer the free retests.

Mr Harris accused Mr Donnelly of making “false political charges”.

He said: “I made the decision. I stand over the decision. I made the decision consistent with the advice of the chief medical officer and there has been no evidence produced to suggest that I didn’t.”

He cited a letter from the Department of Health to the Ceann Comhairle in response to comments made by Micheál Martin.

It said that the minister’s decision on 28 April 2018 was consistent with advice received from his officials.

Harris tells committee he stands over smear retest decision (RTE)

Children’s hospital to proceed despite ‘significant failings’ (The Irish Times)


Last Friday.

The Irish Examiner (top) reported concerns raised by solicitor Cian O’Carroll – who represented Vicky Phelan and the late Emma Mhic Mhathúna (above).

Mr O’Carroll questioned if the halting of a smear test audit occurred in an attempt to “put a lid” on the number of women affected by the CervicalCheck scandal.

In respect of this story, Mr Harris told the committee this morning:

“One of Dr Scally’s key recommendations was that the audit should be paused. I think that was entirely appropriate. Audit is a good thing, a really good thing but this one was not executed in any way that was appropriate.

“So he did call for it to be paused. I did read in a newspaper, I think on the front page of a newspaper, I did read a medical negligence lawyer suggesting that the programme had been paused to stop future litigation, just to be clear: the audit has been paused for no reason other than to implement Dr Scally’s report and address the concerns…”

Watch live above.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister for Health Simon Harris


Simon Harris says Leo Varadkar would beat him in a ‘press up’ contest (Independent.ie)


Thanks Bebe