Supporting Opinion

HSE managers attacked as Bree brings Health Forum back with a bang


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

HSE managers attacked as Bree brings Health Forum back with a bang HSE managers attacked as Bree brings Health Forum back with a bang

The Health Service Executive West Regional Health Forum met for the first time in five months this week, in Galway – and it came back with a bang as management was accused of acting with contempt towards elected members.

The Forum, where councillors get to hold HSE and hospital managers to account, hasn’t met since October due to industrial action by staff in trade union Fórsa.

But Socialist Declan Bree, an Independent councillor in Sligo, laid the blame at management’s feet.

Gruff Bree went on the attack at Tuesday’s meeting in Merlin Park Hospital, lashing management for not seeking an official derogation from the trade union, which would have allowed the HSE Regional Health Forum (RHF) meetings to proceed.

He claimed HSE management had treated the chairman, Councillor Donagh Killilea (Tuam, FF), and all elected representatives with “contempt” for failing to ask Fórsa for a derogation.

Three times, Cllr Bree said, Cllr Killilea urged management to seek a derogation, but they did not – and he had confirmed that through an FOI request. It was because they deliberately did not want the HSE RHF meetings to go ahead, he said.

“They’d be delighted if the Forum disappeared off the face of the earth,” thundered Bree.

Management was “out of control” and “answerable to no one”, he roared.

“The dogs on the street” knew that the only way for a HSE RHF meeting to proceed during an industrial dispute was with an official derogation.

The HSE had paid “big bucks” to its HR team, and yet they did not ensure meetings proceeded.

Bree said management did not seek a derogation because they did not want to be held accountable to councillors at meetings – it was “disrespectful and outrageous”, he stated.

“I’m blaming management – why didn’t you submit a request for an official derogation? You failed to do it,” he said.

Tony Canavan, Executive Chair of the Regional Health Forum, (pictured) said it was “not factually accurate” that management did not wish to attend HSE RHF meetings. Their attendance and engagement at meetings were testament to that, he said.

The top health official said ‘management’ were not nameless, faceless people – they included himself and he rejected Bree’s accusations.

He said he understood that councillors were disappointed the Forum hadn’t met, but so too were management. Canavan rejected Bree’s allegations and defended management. When pushed to answer why a derogation wasn’t sought, he said Bree was happy to “ask and answer” the question himself.
This is a shortened preview version of this column. For more Bradley Bytes, see the March 1 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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