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Who the F… wants health?

Who the F… wants health?

That is the common reply, when many politicians ask about who may be the next Minister for Health.

The portfolio is seen as a nightmare, potentially career ending and infamously once likened by the former Health Minister Brian Cowen to Angola, full of unexploded landmines !

There will be a Cabinet reshuffle in December and the view of politicians who may be in the running for the job are quite telling.

Nobody seems to really want it.

That also tells us how flawed the system is and that nobody believes the health service can be turned around.

What does that mean for the 900,000 patients waiting for surgery, or other treatments and for whom there is little choice but to get treatment abroad under the EU Cross Border Healthcare Directive.

If politicians themselves see the health service as a dead duck, a black hole, where good money goes to die, what hope is there for any reform?

This is one of the fundamental problems with the health service.

There is a widely held view that health is just too big to turn around, like a massive ship whose course cannot be changed without supreme effort.

The health service is a big animal, with a budget of over €23 billion and over 130,000 staff.

New figures show that thousands of the staff are out due to stress and work-related problems.

Things need to change so that patients can have hope that they will be seen quickly.

The array of managers in the service need to manage and also inspire.

Someone must send a signal of hope to those on hospital waiting lists that they are a priority.

That would be a good start for whoever the new Minister for Health is, if we get a new Minister in a few weeks.