HSE chief warns staff against using their positions to campaign on abortion

Tony O'Brien has noted the the HSE will remain neutral in the debate

HSE chief warns staff against using their positions to campaign on abortion

HSE Director General Tony O’Brien and Fine Gael Minister for Health Simon Harris at the launch of the National Services Plan 2018, 20-12-2017. Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews

The HSE has warned its staff that they cannot to use their position to advance any side in the abortion debate. 

It comes after a psychiatrist contacted lawmakers on official HSE notepaper urging them not to back repealing the 8th amendment. 

The psychiatrist used the branded paper to urge members of the Oireachtas "to resist the pressure to yield to populism" and to protect the Eighth amendment. 

Some pro-repeal TDs have complained that it gave the impression of a view that was sanctioned by the Health Service Executive. 

Director General Tony O'Brien has said that is not the case:

“Clearly the HSE as an organisation does not take a position on this issue – neither would it be appropriate to,” he said. 

“The use by an employee both of our letterhead and our email system to communicate not just with members of the Oireachtas but more broadly a position is not in conformity with our policies,” he said. 

Health Minister Simon Harris also said it's important for HSE staff to be impartial. 

“I think it is important that that is transmitted across the health service,” he said. “Absolutely as citizens everybody is entitle to their view – but not in terms of utilising the logo or the name of our health service.” 

HSE boss O'Brien said that he recognises that all staff will have their own personal views on the issue, but warned they cannot use their job roles to support either side.