Following the news yesterday of plans to cut more than 100 jobs in Crumlin Children's Hospital the crisis in our health service was once again the subject of Leaders' Questions in the Dáil this morning.
Labour Leader Eamon Gilmore said how it is now impossible to pick up a newspaper or listen to a news bulletin without hearing about another crisis in our health service.
He said: "Last week we had the stories of the failures of the x-ray services in the North East, last Monday night there was a Prime Time Investigates programme which showed the dilapidation of our health service.
Labour's Spokesperson on Health, Deputy Jan O'Sullivan and Labour Leader Deputy Eamon Gilmore have launched our Six Steps to a 'HSE that works for patients' this morning.
"It is evident that the HSE is not working. It has failed to meet the needs of patients and there is a crisis of confidence among staff working for the organisation," Jan said.
"The HSE will need radical surgery if it is to survive. The plan we are publishing will have the clear purpose of reforming and simplifying the bureaucracy, providing accountability and putting the patient first."
Calling the HSE a bureaucratic Frankenstein Eamon said the HSE was ill-conceived, ill-designed and ill-executed.
"We are talking about people dying; people go to hospital to get cured not to get killed," Labour Leader Eamon Gilmore TD told the Dáil today. He was raising the issue of hospital-acquired infections during Leaders' Questions.
"A report from the HSE last year concluded that one out of every 20 admissions to hospital end up with a hospital related infection. That's 30,000 a year, 600 a week, 80 a day - that's an epidemic.
"One common thread running through all this is that the medical people in the hospitals flagged the problem some time ago and went looking for help, they did so in Ennis. In Loughlinstown on five different occasions, the medical consultants said they wanted a consultant microbiologist.
Following the announcement of Brian Cowen as the new leader of Fianna Fail, the leader of the Labour Party Deputy Eamon Gilmore has promised to provide robust opposition and called for changes in health, beginning with the appointment of a new Minister.Deputy Gilmore said: "I hope that he will have the courage to recognise that Mary Harney has been spectacularly unsuccessful in Health and that she should be moved to another Department. We badly need a new Minister and a new start in health."
Deputy Gilmore also said the public will be looking for a change in direction and a new determination to tackle the mounting social and economic problems of the country.
Despite our country's affluence access to life-saving health care is becoming more based on a person's ability to pay. Our health service is lurching from one crisis to another and bearing the brunt of it all are patients and health care staff.
Women have been let down by cancer screening services, promised medical cards have not been delivered, our A&E departments going from bad to worse. Now we are seeing a further widening in the two-tier health service with the Government's plan to co-locate private hospitals on the grounds of public hospitals.
The cancer screening scandal and the Health Service Executive once again dominated Leaders' Questions in the Dáil today.
Addressing the house Labour Leader Eamon Gilmore said the Taoiseach had a "bad dose of 'BSE' 'blame somebody else' and that "every problem you are confronted with you will find someone else to blame except yourself".
Deputy Gilmore also said: "That is a dysfunctional organisation, that's the organisation, the HSE, that your Gov established to run the health service. It is manifestly clear that it is not working. And when you are asked about it today you say there are issues to be addressed, there is to be a review and we must reduce the bureaucracy.
Once again Labour Leader Eamon Gilmore TD raised the issue of cancer misdiagnosis in the Dáil today during Leaders' Questions. We are now into March and the seven reports that were promised into the various failures in our cancer services have still to be published. Meanwhile it has also been revealed that some public patients are waiting for 18 months for tests to see if they have cancer. You can read more about this on the Irish Times website (subs required).
Raising the delays on promised reports investigating last autumn's cancer misdiagnosis scandal the Labour Leader Deputy Eamon Gilmore told the Dáil today that "it is perfectly clear that this whole issue of the Mahon Tribunal and the Taoiseach is transfixing this Government and taking its attention away from the issues that affect the people".
He said: "We were promised reports on all of those cases and those reports were to have been published before Christmas to tell us what exactly happened and why they were misdiagnosed and what went wrong.
This week the Irish Cancer Society said that up to 30,000 cases of cancer are diagnosed each year in this country and the numbers are increasing.
Before Christmas there were a number of exchanges between Labour Leader Eamon Gilmore TD and the Taoiseach and Minister for Health in the Dáil about cancer treatment and things that had gone wrong in cancer treatment. There were wrong diagnoses, women being given the all-clear and having to be re-examined.
Throughout this week Labour Youth has organised a health week on college campuses to highlight the crisis in our health service and the dangers of going down the privatisation route in our hospitals.
Among the various events organised over the week there will be public meetings with Labour TDs on campus and the screening of a film about the state of health care in the US.
Enda Duffy, Chairperson of Labour Youth, said: "It is a national scandal that Ireland despite years of economic boom has a rapidly deteriorating health service. Labour Youth is calling for taxpayer's money to be invested in a universal health system that is free at the point of access."