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Shoddy proposals and pet demands – a new low for Ireland’s health policy

Posted in Uncategorized by saraburke on April 14, 2016

My analysis from the Irish Independent on 14 April 2016

Repeated surveys show that the state of our health system is the people’s number one concern. Yet Fine Gael’s health proposals (covered in previous articles) are very weak while health gets barely three pages in Fianna Fáil’s ‘Priorities for Government’ document. (more…)

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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…)

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…)

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…)

Straight-talking Leo must come clean on UHI cost

Posted in Uncategorized by saraburke on July 1, 2015

Column from Irish Independent on 1 July 2015.

Health minister Leo Varadkar is known for his straight-talking. But he is not being totally candid in relation to the cost of his own government’s Universal Health Insurance (UHI) policy. He is choosing not to publish detailed costings presented to him on May 21, 2015, which shows the Government’s model is overly expensive.

The ESRI costings, seen by the Irish Independent, reveal that Government’s flagship health project of UHI as promised in the Programme for Government would cost between 3.5pc and 10.7pc more than the current system. Critically, they find that the main drivers of the high costs would be the insurance companies’ profits and the fact that there would be multiple payers for healthcare in the form of competing health insurance companies.

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Time to publish the expert panel report on medical cards

Posted in Uncategorized by saraburke on October 31, 2014

From the Irish Independent on 31 OCtober 2014

When government parties got hammered in the local and European elections over sick people losing their medical cards they did two things. Uncharacteristically, they admitted some wrongdoing and re-issued 13,300 discretionary medical cards that had been taken away. They also set up an expert panel to advise about how best to allocate medical cards on the basis of medical conditions. (more…)

White must show some political savvy in lion’s den after holding gun to GPs’ heads

Posted in Articles by saraburke on April 26, 2014

Here is my analysis from Irish Independent on 26 April 2014 on Alex White and free GP care

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Reilly’s advisors announced

Posted in Blog by saraburke on April 1, 2011

Minister Reilly has some new advisors in place according to an article in yesterday’s Irish Times by Mary Minihan. Sean Faughnan is to be Reilly’s policy advisor and Mark Costigan is his press advisor. (more…)

A healthy nation hangs in the balance

Posted in Articles by saraburke on February 27, 2011

Here is final pre election article I did for politico.ie on the parties respective health policies. Now that a Labour/Fine Gael government seems inevitable, the interesting policy outcomes will be what type of universal health insurance they agree to, whether the HSE will be abolished or not (my guess is that it will be renamed and reformed into different bodies but with most staff doing the same job under a different employers title) and of most importance – who will be minister for health – with James Reilly being hot favourite….