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Plugging the black hole

Posted in Uncategorized by saraburke on October 8, 2015

Column from Medical Independent on 8 October 2015

When Leo Varadkar took up post as health minister, he prioritised securing an ‘adequate’ budget for health. He did this in the hope that he could break the cycle of over-spending in health. Come early December 2014, the rumours about the extent of the supplementary budget required for health were quashed when a whopping €680 million supplementary budget was announced.

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A damning failure to act in Portlaoise

Posted in Uncategorized by saraburke on July 23, 2015

My Medical Independent column from 23 July 2015 on why the HSE and Department of Health failed to act, given that they knew certain Portlaoise services were dangerous a year before the HIQA report.

An internal, unpublished HSE report, titled the Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise Performance Diagnostic Report, was obtained by the Medical Independent through a Freedom of Information request. It was cited regularly in the HIQA Portlaoise report, which investigated the safety, quality and standards of services in Portlaoise following the RTÉ Investigations Unit exposure of a series of babies’ deaths there. (more…)

Radiology debacle shows good-quality healthcare costs, but poor care costs more

Posted in Uncategorized by saraburke on May 1, 2015

From the Irish Independent on 1 May 2015

On the same day that news broke of three separate reviews of radiology services in three small regional hospitals, the Irish Independent can reveal that a number of patients have had a cancer diagnosis following their recall after an initial colonoscopy test in Wexford General Hospital. And hundreds more patients from Wexford hospital are being recalled for a retest. (more…)

Varadkar’s ‘priorities’ are bland, unambitious and confused

Posted in Uncategorized by saraburke on January 27, 2015

A column from the Irish Independent on 27 January 2015.
On the same day that news broke of another investigation into deficiencies in care in a maternity unit in an Irish hospital – including the deaths of two newborn babies – health ministers Leo Varadkar and Kathleen Lynch launched their ‘priority areas’. (more…)

Health could make or break Leo

Posted in Articles by saraburke on July 12, 2014

See below for column on how health could make or break Leo Varadkar, from the Irish Independent on 12 July 2014.

It should be no surprise to Leo Varadkar that he is the new Minister for Health, sure Paddy Power had him at the shortest odds for the health post for months.

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All is changed on the contentious issue of medical cards

Posted in Articles by saraburke on May 30, 2014

Enda Kenny promised to fix the “medical card mess”, while Minister James Reilly floated the idea of a third tier to medical card access. Yesterday’s announcement by Junior Minister Alex White means they might both deliver on these significant promises. My analysis from the Irish Independent on significant shift in policy on medical cards from Irish Independent on 30 May 2014. (more…)