Letter to Minister James Reilly

In Blog, Health by Denis Naughten

Dear Minister Reilly,
Further to your parliamentary reply of the 3rd of October (below), I am writing to you to request that the current vaccines on the board of the Irish Blood Transfusion Service be filled as a matter of urgency. As a frequent blood donor myself I am as aware of the demand for blood and blood products as I am of the role public confidence plays in maintaining donation levels to the service.
As I am sure you will agree the Blood Transfusion Service has often struggled with crises of such public confidence in the past, specifically with regard to the contamination of blood products and the loss of the personal data of donors. In light of this, I feel operating with only half its positions filled dramatically limits the board’s supervisory capability, and as a result increases the risk of another such crisis arising in the near future.
While a board operating with the full battery of required skills is obviously most desirable, given your own medical background, I suspect you may share my reservations regarding the lack of representation of a scientific risk assessment skillset among sitting board members.
The absence of rigorous risk assessment capability at board level is particularly troubling. Such checks are vital, not only to maintain confidence in the service, but also to uphold the health, safety, and indeed lives of those who find themselves in need of blood products. Thus, I would earnestly request that the six vaccines be filled as soon as possible.
While I understand you are under significant pressure dealing with financial issues within the Department at present, I also know that this pressure will only increase as budget time approaches. In light of this, I feel I would be remised if I were not to bring this situation to your attention as a matter of the utmost urgency.
Yours sincerely,
Denis Naughten TD


DÁIL QUESTION addressed to the Minister for Health (Dr. James Reilly) by Deputy Denis Naughten for WRITTEN ANSWER on 03/10/2012

* To ask the Minister for Health the number of vacant positions on the board of the Irish Blood Transfusion Service; the steps he his taking to fill these positions and the type of expertise he plans to bring to the board by such appointments, and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Denis Naughten T.D.

There are 6 vacancies on the Board of the Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS). Members of the Board perform key roles in relation to the direction, leadership and corporate governance of the IBTS.

Expressions of interest for Board membership were sought through the Public Appointments Service in April and I am considering the applications made in the context of the competencies required by Board members.

Members of the Board would be expected to have experience and expertise in one or more of the following areas: corporate governance, finance, haematology, scientific risk assessment, communication, human resources and marketing.

I intend to appoint all members as quickly as possible.