Why did ninety-seven terrified Irish women have to gather together in one place yesterday, under the glare of the media, and wait all day to find out if they had breast cancer?
How did it happen that these ninety-seven women heard on the news that they might have breast cancer?
When the HSE discovered that 568 ultrasound tests needed to be reviewed, who decided to wait until all the tests were checked before telling the women?
Who decided that, even though days and hours might be vital, they wouldn’t contact each woman individually if the ultrasound result was in question?
Who decided it would be more convenient for the system if the women were made to wait months until all 568 tests were reviewed?
Who decided to phone the women who were in the clear first and make the other 97 wait until the end?
Who decided it would be enough to allocate two (2) specialist nurses to make all these phone calls?
There are no managers in the Irish health service. No doctors or nurses run our hospitals. There are only administrators.
Remember this: our health service is not run by health professionals.
The Health Service Executive is run by inflated office-boys who have one skill and one skill only: crawling their way upwards through a bureaucracy, grade upon grade, until they arrive at a point where some other office-boy names them Manager. These are the people who, in their unbelievable, ignorant, uneducated hubris have been known to refer to the nurses, physicians and surgeons as the technical staff.
They are not managers. They are only administrators, and bad ones at that.
These people are from the vast ranks of mediocre know-nothings who arrived into the old Health Boards as junior clerks at the age of seventeen with a fair-to-bad school Leaving Certificate. If not for this stroke of luck, they might have struggled to find a job selling shoes.
These “managers” spent their formative years stamping pieces of paper and looking down their noses at poor people huddled outside a wooden hatch in some freezing Victorian health centre.
These are the geniuses who stuff our public service, and strangle the initiative of people with real talent and real vision. These are the dead weight that guarantee our health service is, and will remain, a complete disaster.
Our health service is not run by health professionals. Never forget this. It is run by arrogant office-boys without vision, talent, understanding, skill or sympathy. They have nothing. They are puffed-up windbags without training, without qualifications, without experience, without knowledge. These are the small, empty, self-important, grey, clueless, frightened, boring, semi-literate, arrogant men and women we call “managers” within the health service. The kind of people who have never done a single practical thing in their entire useless lives.
And that is why ninety-seven terrified women crowded into a small clinic where they waited all day to learn their fate while the media mob prowled the car-park waiting to interview the first confirmed cancer-victim and put it on the nine-o’clock news.
A proud day for Ireland.
Somebody in the HSE gave a statement explaining why they didn’t inform each woman immediately it became clear her particular scan was in question. He said something to the effect that they wanted to get a big enough group of people together before recalling them.
Now, one thing is certain: you have to move fast when cancer is detected. But somebody, it seems, decided it would be all right to let these women wait for weeks, or even months, until enough of them had been herded together to simplify things for the HSE.
Go back to the radiologist. It isn’t immediately clear if anybody made a mistake or if the problem arises due to defective equipment. However, if somebody did overlook all these cases, there would seem to be negligence or incompetence involved.
On the other hand, what if somebody dies because of the delay imposed by a HSE official for administrative convenience? Will that be negligence too?
I don’t think so. That, I think, is called manslaughter.