THE Health Service Executive (HSE) should be disbanded and replaced by regional health boards which had preceded them.
That's according to Roscommon County Councillor Tony Ward (Independent), who has been a member of the HSE forum for more than 10 years.
The HSE was set up in 2005, replacing 10 regional health boards. The HSE is divided into four regionals including HSE West, of which Cllr Ward is a member.
HSE West takes in nine counties: Roscommon, Galway, Mayo, Clare, Limerick, north Tipperary, Donegal, Sligo and Leitrim.
When the HSE was being set up, it was argued that a more centralised approach would benefit the public.
However, Cllr Ward said the system isn't working and some vital services are not operating efficiently.
He said he has been concerned about this for some time and the recent cervical cancer scandal was “the straw that broke the camel's back”.
Home help and services for those with mental health issues are also a concern, he said, adding that he has raised those issues and others repeatedly.
“In relation to home help, there are people here in south Roscommon who have qualified for home help hours but it doesn't matter if they are 90 or 100, they have to wait for six months or nine months,” he said.
While people are waiting for home help to be allocated, some are being forced to move into nursing homes, he added.
“It is a major problem,” said Cllr Ward.
He said that facilities for those attending mental health service at Roscommon County Hospital need to be improved. “There are no facilities there for people to go for a smoke or go out,” he said.
He said that while there is a commitment for a smoking area and a garden for those attending the mental health service, he wasn't optimistic. “I'll have to see it first before I believe it,” he said.
“I'm tired raising these issues,” he said. “Nothing has changed, even though I raised those issues.”
“I feel we are better off going back to the regional health boards,” he added.
“People have suffered enormously,” said Cllr Ward.
He said that while those working in the HSE are superb, the issue is with “the system, not the people”.
“The system isn't working,” he said.