A motion tabled by Councillor Tom Wood at the June meeting of Tipperary County Council calling on the Minister for Health to take the necessary measures to make Regional Health Forum Committees relevant was unanimously adopted by the members and is to be forwarded to Councils throughout the country.
In proposing the motion Councillor Wood said it was eleven years since Regional Health Fora were established with their function,” to make such representations to the HSE Executive as the Forum considers appropriate on the range and operation of the health and personal social services provided within its functional area,” and to be, “an integral part of the reform of the health services.”
He said that prior to his nomination to the Regional Health Forum South just three years ago, a forum covering eight Local Authorities stretching from Wexford to Kerry, he frequently heard nominees from Tipperary South describe the failure of the system and express the view that as constituted it was of little value or relevance and failed to serve its purpose. He said that coming from Cashel, with all its associations with Our Ladys and Saint Patricks Hospitals, Scoil Cormac and Scoil Aonghusa, afforded him reason to raise important issues at every meeting over the past three years and to date the experience had proved demoralising. He equated trying to get factual information and clarification on issues to extracting a tooth the old fashioned way, saying,” after dragging, coaxing and pulling its discovered that the wrong tooth was extracted in the first instance.”
Not wanting to sound disrespectful to the HSE Executive, he continued,”I dont envy them their jobs in a service thats going from crisis to crisis but its a service impacting on everyones life in many forms and has to be transparent and accountable.”
With reference to the May Health Forum meeting held in Cork he referred to a forty minute session when five members from accross the region, unhappy with answers to questions relevant to their areas, made statements from, “there is no engagement or debate with members of the forum on important issues.” “Decisions are made before any member knows. We are just told.”
“Nobody seems to have an answer.” “Everything changes from month to month.” “Its high time we got answers. This is going on long enough.” to, “its a waste of time coming here.”
Councillor Wood is hoping that the Minister for Health, in promising to reform the service, will realise the importance of the Health Fora by ensuring they are functional and made relevant.