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The year ahead will be the big test of Leo Varadkar’s mettel as the health minister

Posted in Uncategorized by saraburke on December 27, 2014

See below for column previewing 2015 from the Irish Independent on 27 December 2014 with misspelled ‘metal’ on line!

The Irish health service starts off 2015 in a better place to where it was a year ago. There are two new, bright, competent, younger men in charge. Leo Varadkar as minister and Jim Breslin as Secretary General in the health department. (more…)

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A good service plan for 2015

Posted in Uncategorized by saraburke on November 28, 2014

My analysis of 2015 HSE Service Plan from Irish Independent on 28 November 2014.

The sense of relief was palpable at yesterday’s launch of the HSE’s 2015 Service Plan. HSE chief Tony O’Brien was flanked by ministers Leo Varadkar and Kathleen Lynch. There was no smugness or back slapping, instead a sober acknowledgement of the “welcome but modest” increase to the health budget for the year ahead. (more…)

A five-month wait for a nursing home bed is no Fair Deal

Posted in Uncategorized by saraburke on November 7, 2014

Analysis from Irish Independent on 7 November 2014.

Yesterday Minister for Health Leo Varadkar declared his dissatisfaction with the fact that there are over 2,000 older people waiting 15 weeks for nursing home care. And now that the fourfold increase in the numbers of older people waiting for nursing home beds has hit the public radar, Minister Varadkar and Minister for Older People Kathleen Lynch have a “plan”. (more…)

Budget 2015 – a very slight turn in the right direction

Posted in Uncategorized by saraburke on November 6, 2014

Speaking in the Dáil the day after the Budget, Minister Leo Varadkar said “the gross current budget for the Health Service for 2015 is €13.079 billion. This is equivalent to an increase of €305 million compared to the 2014 allocation of €12.774 million.” (more…)

Broadside at medics was unwise – but it was not without basis

Posted in Uncategorized by saraburke on October 16, 2014

A short analysis in Irish Independent on 16 October 2014.

Once again, Leo Varadkar calls it as he sees it. The Minister for Health, defending the increased allocation to health in Budget 2015, said “one of the biggest differences I’m experiencing between tourism and sport, and health, is that the interest groups in tourism and sport want you to succeed – you’d kind of wonder sometimes if that’s the case in health”. (more…)

Varadkar fails to deliver ‘realistic’ expenditure plan

Posted in Uncategorized by saraburke on October 15, 2014

Budget 2015 analysis in Irish Independent on 15 October 2014

The fact that further health cuts are not the story of Budget 2015 is an achievement for Minister for Health Leo Varadkar. Since taking up post, Varadkar has prioritised securing a “realistic budget for health”. (more…)

Varadkar should do the right thing and abolish prescription charges

Posted in Uncategorized by saraburke on September 29, 2014

See below analysis from Irish Independent on 19 September 2014

Leo Varadkar has prioritised getting a realistic budget for health as number one of 10 priorities he wants to achieve within the next 18 months. All 10 priorities make good sense, some of them might even be delivered in the tight timeframe envisaged. (more…)