Pitfalls of predecessors a danger for positive Harris

Posted in Uncategorized by saraburke on May 14, 2016

Opinion piece from Irish Independent on 14 June 2016
Being Minister for Health is a big, important job and Simon Harris has got off to a good start. In his first interview in the post, he specified that he wanted to take party politics out of health. (more…)

Why do we get major health infrastructure projects so wrong?

Posted in Uncategorized by saraburke on April 29, 2016

Irish Independent column from 29 April 2016

It is good news that the National Children’s Hospital has got the go-ahead to be built. Construction is due to start this summer, and they say it will be open by 2020. At long last.


Shoddy proposals and pet demands – a new low for Ireland’s health policy

Posted in Uncategorized by saraburke on April 14, 2016

My analysis from the Irish Independent on 14 April 2016

Repeated surveys show that the state of our health system is the people’s number one concern. Yet Fine Gael’s health proposals (covered in previous articles) are very weak while health gets barely three pages in Fianna Fáil’s ‘Priorities for Government’ document. (more…)

The Fine Gael foundation document fails to provide a clear vision for a fair health service

Posted in Uncategorized by saraburke on April 9, 2016

Analysis from the Irish Independent on 9 April 2016

It seems like the drafters of Fine Gael’s ‘foundation document’ presented to Independent TDs last Tuesday live in a different world to most of us mere mortals. A cursory read of the health section would lead you to believe that we lived in a country with a decent health service. (more…)

Reilly’s time in Health was tough but the difficulties were of his own making

Posted in Uncategorized by saraburke on March 2, 2016

From the Irish Independent on 02/03/2016
James Reilly reckons the Government will be “remembered for turning the country around”. Speaking from the count centre on Sunday after losing his seat in the Dublin Fingal constituency, the former Health Minister used a medical metaphor to assess Fine Gael and Labour’s time in government: “The operation was a success, but the patient is still in a lot of pain.” (more…)

Quality, accessible healthcare is what voters really want

Posted in Uncategorized by saraburke on February 22, 2016

From the Irish Independent on 22/02/2016

This General Election demonstrates the gaping disconnect between the Irish people and our politicians. In polls, citizens repeatedly state that their primary concern is health – yet it is crime, ‘fiscal space’ and the make-up of the next government that dominate the campaign. (more…)

Groundhog Day for patients as ‘national emergency’ still drags on 10 years later

Posted in Uncategorized by saraburke on January 8, 2016

From the Irish Independent on 08/01/2016

It’s Groundhog Day for the thousands of patients left waiting in our country’s emergency departments this week. There is a slight improvement, year on year, on numbers presenting to EDs and needing admission to hospital in the last few weeks. But the numbers are way too high and nowhere near where Minister Leo Varadkar wanted them weeks ahead of the next general election.


Without clear health reform plans, we need sustained improvements on access to quality health and social care

Posted in Articles by saraburke on December 19, 2015

From the Irish Independent on 19 December 2015

This week, there were more health headlines, emanating from a frank interview with HSE chief Tony O’Brien, the deferral of the INMO nurses’ strike action in emergency departments and the publication of the HSE 2016 service plan. (more…)

Addressing the abortion issue

Posted in Articles by saraburke on December 17, 2015

From the Medical Independent on 17 December 2015

This Government came to power with no intention of legislating on abortion. Its 2011 Programme for Government health section made five commitments under ‘bioethics’. Four of these five commitments promised legislation. On abortion, it carefully avoided any intent on enacting legislation. Irish politicians know the divisiveness of political debates on what are perceived as moral matters. (more…)

This Government has reneged on its pledge to sort out hospitals

Posted in Uncategorized by saraburke on November 30, 2015

Opinion from the Irish Independent on 30 November 2015

Enda Kenny ran for election in 2007 pledging to “end the scandal of patients on trolleys”. By 2011, he was even more ambitious, promising that “the two-tier system of unequal access to hospital care will end”. (more…)