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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…)

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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.

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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…)

Government’s health insurance model is a textbook case of flawed policy making

Posted in Uncategorized by saraburke on November 18, 2015

Analysis in the Irish Independent on 18 November 2015

This Government promised universal healthcare its 2011 Programme for Government. It said everybody would have free GP care by 2016, and compulsory universal health insurance would start in 2016 and be completed by 2019. (more…)

Parties need to reach consensus on fixing our health service

Posted in Uncategorized by saraburke on November 7, 2015

Analysis from Irish Independent on 7 November 2015

They say insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Einstein’s cliché applies perfectly to political and management responses to the myriad of crises in our health system. (more…)

PAC-ing a punch on HSE spending

Posted in Uncategorized by saraburke on November 5, 2015

Medical Independent column from 5 November 2015

Last month, HSE Director General Mr Tony O’Brien made his last appearance before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) as the person with ultimate accountability for the health budget. This is because responsibility for the health budget was transferred from the HSE back to the Department of Health on 1 January 2015. (more…)

The real cost of being sick

Posted in Uncategorized by saraburke on October 22, 2015

My Medical Independent column from 22 October 2015
Everyone knows the Irish health system is complicated. It’s very hard for citizens to negotiate. Even health professionals find it infuriating to access services for people for whose care they are responsible. It is also well known that healthcare in Ireland is terribly unequal, that those with either cash or private health insurance can often secure faster access to essential diagnosis and treatment.

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Despite this week’s ‘no-risk Budget’, our health service faces greater threat of cut

Posted in Uncategorized by saraburke on October 16, 2015

From the Irish Independent on 16 October 2015
Government spin doctors must be thrilled with themselves as they listen to the chorus of Budget 2016 being declared as ‘a Budget for everyone’. Even the usually cynical and numerate economic analysts heralded it as ‘a no-risk Budget’.But closer scrutiny of the health budget clearly shows this is not a Budget for everyone and there are huge risks for many citizens due to the choices made.

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