Mick Martin as Minister for Health

Micheal Martin’s legacy as Minister for Health shows that he and Fianna Fail have no credibility on health provision according to James Reilly, Fine Gael Health Spokesperson.

“Mr Martin is a politician who promises much but delivers little. His most disastrous legacy is the creation of the HSE, an institution which has absorbed vast national resources and delivered little improvement. Those forced to lie on A&E trolleys for days on end may not agree with Mr Martin’s optimistic assessment of the HSE’s legacy.

“Despite the massive increase in human and financial resources poured into it, Micheal Martin’s HSE has become a by-word for bureaucracy and ineffectiveness.

“From the HSE to the two tier health service, Micheal Martin is promising nothing more than the status quo. Fine Gael understands that only radical change and real reform will deliver the service Irish patients deserve.

“On the day that Fianna Fail launches its health policy, it is important to take a close look at the record of Micheal Martin and the Fianna Fail government on the health service.

• In 2001 Micheal Martin promised to end waiting lists by 2004. In November 2010, more than 19,000 patients were waiting more than three months for treatment (NTPF). When the HSE was formed there were 6 Grade 8 administrators. Now there are several hundreds. Minister for Children, Barry Andrews admitted recently on Primetime that the HSE was not set up properly.
• One of the greatest crimes of the Fianna Fail government was the nursing home overcharging scandal whereby old people and their families were unlawfully overcharged by hundreds of millions of euro. Micheal Martin famously refused to accept responsibility and blamed his officials.
• When challenged about the scandal of cancer misdiagnosis in Portlaoise hospital, Mr Martin’s response was again to blame the agencies involved and shirk responsibility.
• Mr Martin was a serial offender in the commissioning of expensive consultancy reports. During his time as Minister for Health he commissioned 117 reports at a cost of €30 million, many of which are gathering dust and remain unimplemented.
• The primary care strategy continues to limp along. Less than 20 primary care centres have been built in 10 years and the much vaunted primary care teams remain as virtual as ever.

“Since his elevation as leader of Fianna Fail, we have witnessed a man eager to portray himself as a champion of innovation and an impassioned defender of public services. This side of Micheal Martin was curiously absent when he was a senior minister for 14 years in the worst government in the history of the state.”