Minister Harris

  • The Minister for Health Simon Harris will today seek Cabinet support to rationalise the provision of trauma care services in hospitals across the country as part of a €57 million reform programme. That’s according to the Irish Times.

    Minister Harris has faced resistance from Minister for Communications Denis Naughten and Minister for Rural and Community Development Michael Ring over the measures.

    Under the proposals, the country would be divided into two trauma networks for dealing with patients who, for example, have experienced car accidents, head injuries or broken limbs.

    There would be a major trauma centre established in Dublin and one in Cork, as well as a number of other units which would deal with less serious cases.

    Government sources insisted there would be no change to the proposals despite the opposition from rural-based Ministers.

    It is understood Mr Harris met with Mr Naughten and Mr Ring to address concerns they had and is confident the report will pass Cabinet today and be published later.

  • The Health Minister says it’s important the HSE apologise for any failings in audiology services provided to children in the West of Ireland.

    The HSE has been carrying out a review of 900 cases in the Roscommon and Mayo area between 2011 and 2015.

    It's understood up to 50 children were impacted.

    Simon Harris said today that its important the HSE tries to do better.

  • The HSE has no intention of admitting new residents to the Rosalie Unit in Castlerea. That was clearly stated just last week by HSE Chief Health Officer Tony Canavan at a meeting of the unit that was attended by Ministers, public representatives and local interests.

    At present the Rosalie Unit is a HSE residential home for about 12 residents with dementia.

    A local campaign group has worked hard to keep the facility open, after the HSE had stated its intention to close it some months ago. 

    However that decision was reversed and local Minister Denis Naughten received a firm commitment from Taoiseach Leo Varadkar that the unit as a residential facility for patients with mental health issues, would remain open. Leo Varadkar had given the same commitment in 2015 when he was Minister for Health and the future of the unit was under threat. 

    But despite the promises and commitments to date the HSE are insisting that no further residents are being admitted to the facility and instead are providing seven options that it sees as potentially the way forward for the unit.

    Yesterday Minister for Health Simon Harris was in Boyle for the opening of a new Primary Care Centre and he met a delegation supporting the retention of the Rosalie Unit as a residential facility for patients with specific mental health needs. The Minister outlined his frustration and dismay at the lack of progress on this matter and he again reiterated the government’s commitment to its retention.

    Local Senator Maura Hopkins was at the meeting last week between the HSE and public representatives.  She has been telling Midwest News Editor Teresa O’Malley why all interested parties are frustrated with the HSE’s response to date.

  • Health Minister Simon Harris has spoken about the possibility of reopening schools, even for just one day a week.

    But he says it can't happen until it's cleared by doctors.

    The INTO says primary schools may have to have a morning and an afternoon session when they do reopen

    Latest figures show 610 people have now died from Covid 19, while there are more than 15 thousand confirmed cases.

    General secretary of the INTO John Boyle says the school day may have to be staggered because of class sizes.


    The Health Minister's legislation on abortion could be passed in the new Dail term in September.

    Sinn Fein says it'll be ready for discussion in the Dail on the 11th of July, after Simon Harris met opposition spokespeople for health last night.

    He has briefed them in relation to the passage of the legislation to give effect to the Yes vote in the abortion referendum last weekend.

    Sinn Fein's spokesperson on Health Louise O'Reilly says she wants action taken quickly.

  • The Irish Cancer Society has welcomed the decision by the government to review car parking charges at hospitals.

    The announcement was made following complaints that people with seriously ill relatives are being hit with excessive parking fees while visiting loved ones, while cancer patients and others  attending hospital appointments for treatment are often faced with significant parking fees.

    The Health Minister Simon Harris says he wants to establish clear national guidelines on the issue.


  • The Minister for Health Simon Harris is in Mayo Castlebar today for a number of engagements.

    He will officially open the new Mayo / Roscommon Hospice facility in the county town this afternoon.

    The hospice unit includes a 14-bed in-patient unit, day care and community care services, and has been constructed at a cost of more than €10 million.

    After years of planning and fundraising, the facility is being officially opened this lunchtime by the Health Minister.

    Later this afternoon the Minister will visit Castlebar Primary Care Centre at Moneen and Mindspace in the town.

  • The Health Minister says inspections will be carried out at businesses next week, and those not following social distancing rules could be closed down.

    There's concern building sites in particular are struggling to keep workers 2 metres apart.

    The country's top health officials are meeting today to discuss Ireland's response to the Covid 19 pandemic.

    The number of deaths linked to the virus now stands at 19, and there are over 1,800 confirmed cases.

    Minister Simon Harris says every business needs to stick to the guidelines.

  • The health watchdog will today publish new guidelines for nursing homes to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.
    Nursing homes account for almost half of the Republic's deaths from Covid-19.
    According to The Irish Times, one in five residents in care homes believed to have died from the virus were never tested.
    Health Minister Simon Harris says he will meet Nursing Homes Ireland and HIQA today.






  • The Department of Health has told the HSE to ensure abortion will be available in all 19 maternity units from January 1st, amid continuing uncertainty over whether the Government’s deadline for the introduction of the service will be met.

    Dozens of doctors walked out of a meeting of GPs held yesterday to discuss concerns about the provision of abortion, and afterwards claimed a “serious crisis” exists about the rollout of the service that the Government cannot ignore. That’s according to today’s Irish Times.

    The department of health has asked the 19 hospital maternity units to provide updates on how they plan to provide for abortion services from the New Year onwards. Doctors in a number of smaller maternity units have said they do not have the resources to provide the service from next month.

    Then yesterday a number of doctors walked out of a meeting of GPs held to discuss concerns about the provision of abortion, and afterwards claimed a “serious crisis” exists about the rollout of the service.

    More than 300 members of the Irish College of General Practitioners attended the three-hour extraordinary general meeting in Malahide, but the group, estimated at “up to 50”,  of mostly anti-abortion doctors staged a walkout after half an hour.

    The group is now expected to seek a further EGM to debate change on conscientious objection that would ensure doctors would have to refer a woman seeking an abortion to a colleague if they did not want to treat her on grounds of conscience.

    The Minister for Health Simon Harris acknowledged doctors had a right to conscientious objection but “women also have a right to healthcare” and “one right cannot trump another”.

    While it was “okay” for doctors to have different views “the people have spoken and the campaign is over”.

    At last week’s HSE West Forum meeting in Merlin Park Tuam based Fianna Fail councillor Donnagh Killilea  sought some clarification on the delivery of the termination of pregnancy service that will be rolled out on Jan 1st next in the Galway, Roscommon and Mayo areas.

    He was told that the HSE, in consultation with the dept of Health and other stakeholders is working collaboratively on an implementation plan for the delivery of the service provided by GPs and maternity hospitals by the 1st January.

  • With 33 cases of Covid 19 are confirmed across the island of Ireland, a new Cabinet committee will meet today to discuss the coronavirus outbreak.

    Two new cases were confirmed in the Republic last night, bringing the total number here to 21.Five new cases have been identified in the North, bringing the total number to 12.

    It comes as calls are growing for the Dublin St Patrick's Day Parade to be cancelled together with parades right across the country.

    Dr Sarah Doyle from the HSE says all these decisions are under review.

    The Health Minister says a decision on St Patrick's Day parades will be made in the next 24 to 48 hours.

    Irish Rural Link's calling for the HSE and Department of Health to issue a directive for community and voluntary groups on Covid-19.

    The group says it would be helpful to have guidance around its services during this outbreak. 

    It provides vital services to people in the high risk category - those over 65 and with an underlying health condition.