Not cherishing our children

Posted in Blog by saraburke on May 28, 2010

How come we still don’t know how many children died in care? Why is it, ten years on from the publication of the national children’s strategy ‘Our Children – their lives’, we are still listening to political squabbles over the poor state of our child protections services? Quite simply, there is no priority given to children by the State, particularly those who need their help most. (more…)


Is the emperor naked (are there really 222 primary care teams)?

Posted in Blog by saraburke on February 25, 2010

Over eight years on from the launch of the primary care strategy, there are 222 teams in place. They are where 90-95% of health care needs can be met and Brendan Drumm’s pet project. So what do these teams actually do? Do they really exist? And how widespread are they? (more…)

HSE Service Plan 2010 – an impossible ask??

Posted in Blog by saraburke on February 18, 2010

Ten days ago, amidst the media frenzy of George Lee’s resignation, the HSE Service Plan was published. The HSE Service Plan is the HSE’s most important publication of the year as it is the contract between the HSE and the government which details the type and volume of service the HSE will provide in the year ahead within the budget it is allocated by government. Significantly it is the fifth HSE Service Plan and the last one with Brendan Drumm at helm. In short, it details a one billion budget cut, fewer staff and fewer hospital beds. Delivering all its promises in such a constrained environment will be difficult, if not impossible. (more…)

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A winter of discontent in health lies ahead..

Posted in Blog by saraburke on September 11, 2009

There is no question of whether the health budget will be cut, the question is by how much more, as it is already being cut. In my health slot on 10 September 2009, I looked at the intractable issues in the health system we have failed to solve during the decade we had most. I also outline the impact of the cuts to date, the potential damage of McCarthy’s proposals and who calls the shots in deciding the budget for health.  Here are the mains issues covered. All comments and feedback welcome… 

Despite a decade of mega health investment, we already have system under pressure. Efforts to address certain areas just have not worked.

  • There are still 18,000 public patients waiting over three months for in patient or day procedures. 
  • There are 870 delayed discharges in hospital beds. 
  •  In 2001, we were promised 600 state of the art primary care teams and eight years later, just 120 are in place and I’d doubt that figure. Drumm speaking on This Week on Sunday last said ‘we now have a fabulous primary care infrastructure going in across this country’. This is not credible to most people because to the vast majority of citizens no such ‘fabulous primary care infra structure is evident.
  • If we take A&E, on 9/9/9 (according to the HSE count) there were 84 people waiting over 6 hours or more, 44 of these were waiting over 12 hours and this is after a decision to admit has been made ie it is not a measurement of the time since they arrived in the Emergency department. The INO counted 273 people waiting. 

So in the decade we had most, the HSE has failed to address some of the most intractable issues facing them. 
There is no doubt impact that the cut backs are impacting on patient care.

The HSE’s mantra is that they are providing more and more services, year on year, with less money and fewer staff. And that is true. (more…)

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