One of two patient lawyers on the Board of the Health Service Executive (HSE) resigned after only six months in protest against the “tokenistic” treatment of patients in the healthcare system.
Mark Molloy also said he felt abandoned by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister of Health Simon Harris for underfunding the national maternity strategy.
Mr Molloy, who resigned earlier this month, told The Irish Times that he could no longer be involved in board decisions that undermined the integrity of the work he and his wife Róisín Molloy did for patients.
The Molloys’ son, Mark too, was one of several babies who died unnecessarily from the failure of a portlaoise hospital failure, and they have since been working to improve accountability and advocacy for healthcare providers. They celebrated Mark’s eighth birthday at the weekend.
When asked what board decisions he was referring to, Mr. Molloy referred to the HSE service plan published last month.
He said he could not sign the plan because it provides only a fraction of the funds originally promised for the national maternity strategy. “Medical negligence claims go through the roof and most of them are obstetric. And yet the plan could only fund a fraction – 12 percent – of the 8 million euros a year that were promised for the strategy. “
The plan, which aimed to develop high quality, safe, consistent and well-equipped care in the 19 state maternity departments, was developed in response to official recommendations after Savita Halappanavar’s death in a Galway hospital in 2012. Many of the 77 recommendations have not yet fully implemented this.
The 10-year maternity strategy was launched by Mr. Varadkar as Minister of Health in 2016 and was originally provided with earmarked funds. However, most of the money was used to pay for the new abortion service last year.
Mr Molloy said he was disappointed that the special funds originally promised by Mr Varadkar had been canceled. “We shouldn’t have to be in the hand when this money was promised. For me, fencing means that the money is done and dusted off, ”said Molloy, a volume surveyor.
Mr. Harris and HSE Chairman Ciarán Devane both tried to persuade Mr. Molloy to remain on the board, but he persisted in his decision to step down.
Ms. Molloy said that representing patients in healthcare is still characterized by “tokenism”. “Patients are brought in, and that’s a good thing, but they’re not being listened to,” she said.
Patient representatives were recommended last year by Dr. Gabriel Scally, the Northern Irish public health doctor who investigated the CervicalCheck controversy, was admitted to the HSE panel.
A second patient representative, Dr. Sarah McLoughlin, remains on the board.