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Government’s lack of courage fails us all, but more importantly, our oldest and frailest citizens

Posted in Uncategorized by saraburke on July 21, 2015

Column from Irish Independent on 21 July 2015 on long-awaited, watered government review of the Nursing Home Support Scheme.

On February 12, Minister of State for Primary and Social Care Kathleen Lynch starkly told the Oireachtas Health Committee that the Nursing Home Support Scheme was “unsustainable in its present form… we have to take a serious look at the additional funding that will be needed”.

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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…)

The year ahead will be the big test of Leo Varadkar’s mettel as the health minister

Posted in Uncategorized by saraburke on December 27, 2014

See below for column previewing 2015 from the Irish Independent on 27 December 2014 with misspelled ‘metal’ on line!

The Irish health service starts off 2015 in a better place to where it was a year ago. There are two new, bright, competent, younger men in charge. Leo Varadkar as minister and Jim Breslin as Secretary General in the health department. (more…)

Taoiseach, make this the best little country in the world for people with disabilities

Posted in Uncategorized by saraburke on December 11, 2014

My take on the abuse in Aras Attracta as detailed by the RTE Investigations Unit in Irish Independent on 11 December 2014.

The HSE reacted promptly and with apparent gravity to the abuse in Aras Attracta, exposed by RTE’s ‘Prime Time’ programme, once it was made aware of it. (more…)

A good service plan for 2015

Posted in Uncategorized by saraburke on November 28, 2014

My analysis of 2015 HSE Service Plan from Irish Independent on 28 November 2014.

The sense of relief was palpable at yesterday’s launch of the HSE’s 2015 Service Plan. HSE chief Tony O’Brien was flanked by ministers Leo Varadkar and Kathleen Lynch. There was no smugness or back slapping, instead a sober acknowledgement of the “welcome but modest” increase to the health budget for the year ahead. (more…)

A five-month wait for a nursing home bed is no Fair Deal

Posted in Uncategorized by saraburke on November 7, 2014

Analysis from Irish Independent on 7 November 2014.

Yesterday Minister for Health Leo Varadkar declared his dissatisfaction with the fact that there are over 2,000 older people waiting 15 weeks for nursing home care. And now that the fourfold increase in the numbers of older people waiting for nursing home beds has hit the public radar, Minister Varadkar and Minister for Older People Kathleen Lynch have a “plan”. (more…)

Using health as a test case of junior ministers’ usefulness

Posted in Articles by saraburke on July 22, 2014

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…)

Intervention saves lives

Posted in Blog by saraburke on December 9, 2013

The link between self-harm and suicide means hospitals have an important role to play in prevention. My column from the Medical Independent on 26 September 2013. (more…)

‘Cautious optimism’? New unambitious targets for hospital wait times

Posted in Blog by saraburke on January 30, 2012

On Wednesday 25 January, Minister James Reilly held a news conference to announce new targets on reducing the numbers of trolleys and wait times for hospital treatment. It was good news all-round… ‘Cautious optimism’ was the prevailing sentiment of the day. (more…)

Programme for Government health commitments, potentially ‘revolutionary’

Posted in Blog by saraburke on March 20, 2011

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…)