HSE CEO, Bernard Gloster is to be summoned to an ‘in-camera’ workshop with local elected representatives in Clare.
By Adam Maloney
Gloster who almost a year ago was announced as Paul Reid’s successor as CEO of the HSE is to receive an invite to a behind closed doors briefing with elected members of Clare County Council, a sitting that will see members of the media excluded.
Following a joint proposal by Cllr Cillian Murphy (FF), Cllr Ian Lynch (IND), Cllr Tony O’Brien (FF), Cllr Donna McGettigan (SF) and Cllr Joe Garrihy (FG) at this month’s Council meeting, Gloster was invited to have “a full and frank discussion” away from the press on “the significant healthcare deficits facing the people of Clare” and “potential solutions to those issues”.
Cllr Murphy stated, “There’s not a lot more to add to this, but the fact that I requested that CEO of HSE Bernard Gloster spend a day inside an ambulance in Co Clare and go around in the ambulance to see what the issues were. We as representatives, for firstly our communities need to have unique insight on a very local level into the real issues with regards to the health in Co Clare and I think there is a lot to be said for sitting in a room and have a very good discussion with someone like him who clearly wants to see change within the organisation”.
He added, “we have particular health concerns that are not been addressed by a system that’s clearly invested. That’s the genesis of this motion”.
A visit of the HSE CEO to the Chamber is something “I like,” admitted Cllr Lynch. “I do think this does present a unique opportunity and Cllr. Murphy is right, and even if we have a very friendly long discussion here, I think there’s something to be gained. And we’ve all put forward different motions about camera certs, hotels, Ennis GPs, everything, we’ve all had a conversation on it, so I think the community is top of the environment and hopefully ye might accept and listen to this conversation and try and influence the one thing that really impacts community existence that we serve”.
Support was voiced from the floor by Cllr Clare Colleran Molloy (FF), Cllr Joe Cooney (FG), Cllr Ann Norton (IND), Cllr Alan O’Callaghan (FF) and Cllr Tom O’Callaghan (FF), the latter who commented, “I actually like this approach, it’s very welcoming, because it’s always a case of, moving further away from hospitals, what would actually happen, so this is a worthy exercise that I would hope could get a strategic plan into structure”.
Though welcoming a potential engagement with the HSE CEO, Cllr Gerry Flynn (IND) flagged another example of protecting individuals and not trusting the media to relay the message. “More and more we are seeing the privatisation of public services and the HSE’s case in question, but it’s in a private tight group, similar to Irish Water. The fourth estate are there for a very important role. Their role is to actually there to bring the message to the public. People aren’t in a situation where we are [as councillors] and we’re being brought into “in camera” sessions, where the HSE representatives aren’t prepared to come to a public meeting. So, I would stand to the group councillors to why they’re taking this approach, but I don’t think anything much will be achieved by it. I have a particular problem with meeting companies that are in place to provide public services behind closed doors, I don’t like it”.
In response, Cllr Murphy commented, “We need to respect the HSE’s private identity, it’s a public service. The HSE are meeting a standalone private enterprise, we can do that in our roles as elected members, on a daily basis, we meet people privately on a daily basis and we have very frank discussion about what’s needed to be done. Maybe there is nothing to be gained, but there is certainly nothing not to be gained by not asking for it, and I think from what I have seen and what really focused me was the fact that he is a man that is prepared to work with an ambulance driver and paramedic to understand better the challenges they face on the ground and I think we have a real good opportunity if he would come and speak to us. I also think the HSE would learn a lot from us. This could be a game changer”.