Going Incognito

Do you recognise these velour pyjamas?

Last seen at the Health Debate in Trinity College Dublin on 8th April, 2008.

If you see someone wearing this outfit who answers to the name of Mary, please contact the Irish Medical Times blog @ Viscera, where all will be revealed.

Well not quite all, thankfully! πŸ˜€

9 Responses to Going Incognito

  1. She’s an awful wagon!

    Imagine waking up to her bedside manner!! πŸ™„

  2. Steph says:

    Ah Paddy!

    Don’t assassinate the woman’s character. I know she doesn’t exactly exude an image of health but I was merely getting a bit more mileage out of poking some fun at her (as was Viscera) for the outfit she turned up in last week.

    I used to admire Mary Harney for having the guts to tackle the problems in the health service but I’ve long since lost the belief that she can turn the situation around. She has an unfortunate habit of alienating people and then storming ahead without having them onboard. Her policy of co-location is a classic example. I haven’t heard anyone agree with her on this one. I’d love to hear Prof. Tom Keane’s thoughts on Harney’s privatisation of the health service.

    It’s time for change and she knows it. We can only hope that Cowen realises it and acts accordingly.

  3. Knipex says:


    From my own conversations with medical staff the vast majority agree with co-location.

    Personally I think that any policy that gets private patients out of public beds has to be good. Also 20% of all beds in colocated hospitals have to be designated for public patients which the HSE can avail of at a vastly reduced rate.

    These two factors combined will free up over 1000 public beds in acute hospitals. Combine that with the increase in investmetn in residential care units shudl free up even more beds.

    They will take a year or two to bear fruit but it would take 8+ years to build a new public hospital the size of St james’s which would only give you half the number of beds.

  4. Ian says:


    Of course medical staff will agree with extra space when the system is being run for profit and not for service. There will be more room to fit in the lucrative customers.

  5. When I use the term ‘wagon’ …. I’m not poking fun at her physical size.

    It’s a term used in this part of the/my world to describe a female who’s trouble/awkward/painful ….. it’s mor of a comment on personality rather than physicality.

    I was criticising her ‘bedside’ manner in dealing with the Health Service as a whole and my ‘Imagine waking up to her bedside manner!!’ quip was in not having confidence in her or the system she is in charge of to help cure my ills.

    No (personal) offence intended.

  6. Here I come again: πŸ™‚

    Health is number one of all portfolios …… we all need or will need health care. The least that could be done by a country/government is to provide the best possible service possible. We ain’t getting it and the buck stops with the government …..

    Harney isn’t any good at her job …. she should go but not if they’ll put in another plebicite!

  7. Steph says:

    Thanks for all the comments, folks!

    Paddy – cheers! I didn’t mean to tick-off the ‘teacher’ πŸ˜‰ I just don’t want it to look as if the objections to Harney are based solely on her looks and persona. Yes, she has problems in this regard but frankly, I’m more concerned about her tactics than her image. The system was in chaos when Harney stepped into her role 4 years ago and it’s in even greater chaos now. Surely the enormous overrun in spending of the health budget is proof enough that her system of management has failed. The reality is, Harney’s tactics have little to do with patient care, it’s all about politics. As far as I’m concerned, the future of our health service rests in Brian Cowen’s hands right now. We can only hope that he will take initiative and apply some creative thinking to the process.

    Knipex – I’m afraid I don’t agree with the philosophy of promoting privatisation of health care regardless of how many public beds may be freed up in the process. I’ve experienced the contrast between public and private care many times and I feel very uncomfortable with it. What’s good enough for one sick person, should be good enough for all sick people regardless of their ability to pay. I see nothing but problems ahead (across the spectrum of healthcare) if the planned co-located hospitals go ahead. It will only wider the divide and line the pockets of the wrong people. There is no joined-up thinking coming from the HSE. We need a rejuvenated single tier health service funded by a system of universal health insurance. To me, the only logical way forward is a health service which offers equitable access and accommodation, based on need rather than ability to pay.

    Ian – I agree. We need a health service that is patient-focussed not profit driven. A few years back, I was admitted as an emergency to a public hospital (via A&E) under the care of an excellent physician who worked in the public service only. As a VHI customer, he spelt out my options while I was still in A&E awaiting a bed. “If you choose to be accommodated in the private wing, I cannot (and will not on principle) oversee your care however I will take good care of you in the public system once we find you a bed”. I was MRSA positive at the time and needed to be nursed in isolation. There were single rooms available in the private wing of the hospital but none in the public hospital. I had no difficulty making medical care my priority (and endured a further night in A&E as a result) but I felt it very wrong that both the doctor and I were put in this awkward situation. Private healthcare is far too divisive for my liking.

  8. Don’t hold your breath with Cowen either Steph …… there’s seem to be a lot of political apathy towards the Health System by the current incumbents in government.

    It’s a pity that the ‘sheep’ who vote for Fianna Fail don’t realise that blind allegiance isn’t helpful!

  9. Steph says:

    I couldn’t agree more, Paddy.

    However, if Cowen decides to act to bring about proper reform of our health service, it would serve to copper fasten his place in history, something his ministry has lacked to date.

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