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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.

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Universal healthcare was promised but has not been delivered

Posted in Uncategorized by saraburke on September 21, 2015

Analysis from Irish Independent on 21 September 2015

An essential element of this Government’s 2011 promise of a ‘democratic revolution’ was a ‘universal single-tiered health service, which guarantees access based on need, not income’. It committed to do this through universal primary care and universal health insurance. (more…)

UHI — another broken promise

Posted in Uncategorized by saraburke on July 9, 2015

My Medical Independent column from 9 July on on the ESRI costings the government refuses to publish as they are the final nail in the universal health insurance coffin.

In the run-up to election 2011, it was hard to avoid Enda Kenny and his five-point plan — this was the plan that was going to solve all the country’s ills — a country that was in a very bleak place in the midst of an economic and social depression. Number five on the infamous five-point plan was a ‘completely new health system’, the major plank of which was the delivery of universal health insurance (UHI). (more…)

Government’s life-time community rating is propping up the two-tier health system that they promised to dismantle

Posted in Uncategorized by saraburke on March 13, 2015

Column from Irish Independent on 13 March 2015

The central plank of this Government’s ‘democratic revolution’ for health was to develop a ‘universal, single-tiered health service, which guarantees access based on need, not income’. This was to be achieved by giving free GP care for all by early 2016 and rolling out universal health insurance in 2016. (more…)

To live longer, healthier lives require very different health and public policies

Posted in Uncategorized by saraburke on March 3, 2015

Column from the Irish Independent on 3 March 2015

So what would it take for Ireland to be the best little country in the world to be healthy in?

For a start, it would take all of us being more healthy, not just exercising more but eating less processed food and more home-cooked, fresh food; drinking much less alcohol; not smoking; looking after our mental health; being more caring of ourselves and each other. (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…)

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…)

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…)

Irish health reform – ‘incremental change in the fullness of time’….

Posted in Uncategorized by saraburke on September 25, 2014

From the Medical Independent on 25 September 2014

Just eight weeks after the new Minister, Leo Varadkar, was appointed to health, his Department officials released the briefing documents prepared for him. These reveal the vastness of the Government’s aspirations for health reform, as well as their failure to deliver on all of the Government’s key health commitments. (more…)

Kenny should recognise health service failings are ultimately his responsibility

Posted in Articles by saraburke on September 11, 2014

Opinion in Irish Independent on 11 September 2014

Enda Kenny’s remark that he was not interested in endless volumes of explanations on why things can’t get done is fair comment for the leader of government.

One could reasonably expect, three and half years into office, that good progress would have been made on many of the 87 health commitments made in his own Programme for Government. (more…)