Labour Claims ‘Explosive’ Letters Reveal HSE & NPHET Tensions over Testing

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HSE CEO Paul Reid (left) credit: PA and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Tony Holohan (right)

New letters showing tensions between the HSE and the National Public Health Emergency Team have been described as ‘explosive’ by the Labour leader.

In one letter HSE boss Paul Reid expresses anger that NPHET announced an expansion of Coronavirus testing to 100,000 a week, without informing the HSE which carries out the tests.

Despite the government repeatedly denying any rift in the Coronavirus decision making process, thse new letters paint a different picture.

In mid-April the Chief Medical Officer and Chair of the National Public Health Emergency Team Tony Holohan announced a target of 100,000 tests being carried out a week.

It’s now emerged that was done without the sign off of the HSE. HSE boss Paul Reid subsequently wrote to the head of the Department of Health, expressing concerns at the decision making process.

The HSE carries out the testing, and Mr Reid said he was extremely dissapointed that understandings around decision making were not respected.

He raised further concerns about the ability of the HSE to meet those targets.

Health Minister Simon Harris tried to play them down, saying a number of HSE staff are on the NPHET team that made the decision, and that there’s always robust debates around decisions at this level

Labour leader Alan Kelly described the letters explosive and said it shows a clear lack of communication at the top of medical decision making.. ‘‘So the CEO of the HSE is bascially writing to the secretary general of the department of health saying that what process was in place, that they had put in through cabinet sub commitee, through the board of the HSE is not being respected by NPHET.”