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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…)

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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…)

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…)

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…)

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.

(more…)

Varadkar won’t fix issues in health service by ‘making heads roll’

Posted in Uncategorized by saraburke on September 30, 2015

From the Irish Independent on 30 September 2015

Leo Varadkar tends to be as straight-talking in his emails and texts as he is in person. In an email on September 4 sent to his adviser Brian Murphy, and copied to three senior HSE managers including HSE boss Tony O’Brien, Mr Varadkar made it perfectly clear that he wants a HSE head to roll if there are not tangible improvements in our overcrowded emergency departments.

(more…)

Hard choices to be made in the political parlour

Posted in Uncategorized by saraburke on July 9, 2015

Column from Irish Independent on 8 July 2015.

Game on for Budget 2016, with the impending general election in sight. Last Friday, Tánaiste Joan Burton warned interest groups at the Social Protection forum in Dublin Castle that “the Budget isn’t a parlour game in which everybody puts out what they would like”.

(more…)

If the government is serious about addressing mental health crises then 24/7 services are required

Posted in Uncategorized by saraburke on June 26, 2015

Op-ed from Irish Independent on 26 June 2015.

The Irish Independent revealed a series of incidents where people with serious mental health conditions were left waiting for appropriate care in one of the country’s busiest emergency departments (ED) in Beaumont Hospital.

The reasons for this are two-fold. Firstly, by their very nature, crises often occur out of office hours. This is also true of mental health crises. Secondly, the failure of the HSE to deliver 24/7 mental health support services means that people with mental health crises still end up going to the EDs of our public hospital for help. These may be people who are having such a crisis for the first time, or people who are regular users of mental health services.

(more…)

We are failing when people aged 102 are left on trolleys

Posted in Uncategorized by saraburke on June 10, 2015

Analysis from the Irish Independent on 10 June 2015 on ED over-crowding

Nine weeks after the publication of the Emergency Department Task Force Action Plan and nine years after then-health minister Mary Harney declared A&E overcrowding a ‘national emergency’, some of our oldest citizens are being exposed to ‘forms of torture’ in this country’s Emergency Departments (EDs).
(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…)