Accountability and Department of Health


Sir, – The State’s chief medical officer Tony Holohan’s concern to move away from the “language of blame” might have some merit were it applied consistently across the entire health service (News, May 26th). In reality, while doctors and nurses may be subject to investigations by their regulatory bodies, no such forum exists for investigating failings by HSE management or the Department of Health.

The current situation where frontline staff are left to deal with the consequences on the ground of managerial mismanagement is decidedly unfair.

Dr Holohan, rather that seeking to avoid ” blame”, would be better served championing a culture of accountability within the Irish health service. Reversing his 2015 advice to the Government against mandatory disclosure of medical mistakes and incidents affecting patient safety would be a good start.

Any organisation that hopes to grow can only do so if it is honest and up-front about its mistakes. An organisation that applies a culture of blame to frontline workers while failing to hold management to similar standards cannot hope to progress.

An independent forum for investigating failings by HSE management and senior officials in the Department of Health is long overdue. All this would do is bring them into line with their colleagues on the frontline. – Yours, etc,


Sandyford, Dublin 18.