Our Minister for Health, Mary Harney has finally admitted today that the Health service failed Susie Long. She stated that Susie’s experience was “unacceptable”. Am I surprised to hear this now? Not one bit – this is exactly the sort of behaviour I’ve come to expect from our government.
I can only respond by saying that today is too late to make this admission – Susie died last Friday – and I find it very unacceptable that the government has waited until after her death to publicly admit to their failure. Susie did more good for our health service in one year than any Minister for Health has ever achieved. She turned her own personal tragedy into a force for positive change. At her cremation service this week her husband read a passage titled “Not how she died, but how she lived”. Susie believed in human rights and social justice for everyone and she firmly believed that queue jumping was wrong. Her untimely death was brought about by the failure of this government to provide an equitable health service for all. It’s too late for apologies. Susie deserved so much more.