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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…)

PAC-ing a punch on HSE spending

Posted in Uncategorized by saraburke on November 5, 2015

Medical Independent column from 5 November 2015

Last month, HSE Director General Mr Tony O’Brien made his last appearance before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) as the person with ultimate accountability for the health budget. This is because responsibility for the health budget was transferred from the HSE back to the Department of Health on 1 January 2015. (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.

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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.

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A damning failure to act in Portlaoise

Posted in Uncategorized by saraburke on July 23, 2015

My Medical Independent column from 23 July 2015 on why the HSE and Department of Health failed to act, given that they knew certain Portlaoise services were dangerous a year before the HIQA report.

An internal, unpublished HSE report, titled the Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise Performance Diagnostic Report, was obtained by the Medical Independent through a Freedom of Information request. It was cited regularly in the HIQA Portlaoise report, which investigated the safety, quality and standards of services in Portlaoise following the RTÉ Investigations Unit exposure of a series of babies’ deaths there. (more…)

From here to maternity

Posted in Uncategorized by saraburke on June 11, 2015

Recent Medical Independent column from 11 June 2015 on the urgent need for change in maternity services.

For anyone interested in learning how our health system fails people, there is no greater lesson than listening to testimonies at the Oireachtas Health Committee from parents whose babies died in Portlaoise.

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Kenny’s promises on mental health were pure guff

Posted in Uncategorized by saraburke on June 5, 2015

Analysis from Irish Independent on 5 June 2015.

Mental health “is so central and so sensitive to our communities that it deserves the very best from the Government and that it shall have”. These were the words of An Taoiseach Enda Kenny at the opening of a Console counselling service in Mayo in 2012.

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The eHealth of the nation

Posted in Uncategorized by saraburke on May 28, 2015

“To lose one parent may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.” So said Oscar Wilde in 1895. The phrase jumped to mind as the Government recently lost its second Government-wide Chief Information Officer in less than two years.

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Varadkar and O’Brien’s biggest test: to deliver safe maternity services

Posted in Cathal McGee, Charlie Flanagan, Garry Courtney, Leo Varadkar, Tony O'Brien by saraburke on May 16, 2015

My analysis of Portlaoise HIQA report in the Irish Independent on 16 May 2015
Five babies died in Portlaoise Hospital between 2006 and 2013. The maternity unit was unsafe, with insufficient frontline clinical staff, under-resourced to cope with the complexity of care required. Had lessons been learnt from previous HSE inquiries into Portlaoise and Hiqa reviews into Ennis and Mallow hospitals between 2007 and 2010, babies’ lives could have been saved.

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Radiology debacle shows good-quality healthcare costs, but poor care costs more

Posted in Uncategorized by saraburke on May 1, 2015

From the Irish Independent on 1 May 2015

On the same day that news broke of three separate reviews of radiology services in three small regional hospitals, the Irish Independent can reveal that a number of patients have had a cancer diagnosis following their recall after an initial colonoscopy test in Wexford General Hospital. And hundreds more patients from Wexford hospital are being recalled for a retest. (more…)