See below for article on junior ministers from the Irish Independent on 22 July 2014.
The absence of any real achievement by the vast majority of junior ministers must call into question the very necessity of all junior ministerial posts. They have no power to make decisions or allocate money and are really just there to champion a specific aspect of a government department that is perceived to need public and political attention. Let’s use health as a test case of junior ministerial usefulness. (more…)
Here is my Medical Independent column from 29 August 2013. It is too early to say what effect the economic crisis is having on the nation’s health, despite recent claims in the BMJ. (more…)
The first sentence in the health section the new programme for government reads ‘this government is the first in the history of the State that is committed to developing a universal, single tier health services, which guarantees access to medical care based on need, not income’. The opening line of the full document refers to a ‘democratic revolution’ that took place on election day, how with the stroke of a pen the public had demanded change. (more…)
See here for my analysis of the budget implications for health published in today’s Irish Times, with a few of the bits they left out added back in! And my mega typo corrected…
LISTENING TO Brian Lenihan’s Budget speech, you’d think the health services were going to be untouched by austerity in the years ahead. Although health services make up 27 per cent of current spending, they are just under one-third of the €2.2 billion in cuts outlined, yet they did not even get a mention.
If you are sad or enthusiastic enough to hear what the FOUR ministers in the Dept of Health had to say about the €727 million cut to the health budget, you can listen in here
Proposals to abolish public funding for treatment is now on the political agenda, writes SARA BURKE
THE FUTURE of all publicly funded dental schemes is in jeopardy in light of growing demand for the services and tightening budgetary circumstances.
The Department of Health and the Department of Social and Family Affairs have both prepared internal memoranda in the past two months on the implications of abolishing two publicly funded dental schemes. (more…)
The health section of the new Programme For Government has been called ‘all Fianna Fail’. But it is not all Fianna Fail, it’s all PD, with a few minor Green hints in it. It is PD health policy reflecting that we have had a PD minister for health for the last five years.
I presume the health section was written in its entirety by Oliver O’Conner who is Harney’s advisor in health. There are few new commitments in it, no costings, but there is no need for costings as there is little extra in it.
The leaked document by Irish Times’ Stephen Collins said the Greens were looking for a one tiered universal health system. And what did we get? The intro to the Renewed Programme for Government under health says “We will take further progressive, detailed steps towards building universal health services that provide high-quality care, fair access and affordability for all.” This is a far call from a commitment to introducing universal, one tiered, free care for all. More detail on the ‘Renewed Programme for Government’ here including colocation, cancer services, screening and vaccine, mental health and the Resource Allocation Working Group … (more…)
Here is the article that appeared in Irish Times on 3 August. I am taking August off so this site will be quiet for the month. Will be back in September. Keep the comments coming and enjoy any sun we get!
THE McCARTHY report is comprehensive and provides an overview of the piecemeal nature of Irish policy-making, alongside unparalleled increases in Government spending which dominated the past 12 years.
However, the “menu” of cuts in the health sector is unsatisfactory and, in some instances, based on erroneous assumptions. This is significant because more than one-fifth of the €5.3 billion proposed budget cuts are in health. The top three health savings suggested are: reducing HSE staff by 6,000 (saving €300 million) plus efficiencies (€90 million); opening up contracts with GPs, opticians, pharmacists and dentists to tender and presumably negotiating better deals (€370 million); revising down income eligibility for medical cards (€100 million).
Speaking on the night of the publication of the report, Colm McCarthy said: “There is scope for economies in staffing throughout the health service, there have been enormous increases in staffing . . . Everyone knows the staffing ratios are now high by international standards in certain parts of the health service.”
Is McCarthy right? (more…)