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Why do we get major health infrastructure projects so wrong?

Posted in Uncategorized by saraburke on April 29, 2016

Irish Independent column from 29 April 2016

It is good news that the National Children’s Hospital has got the go-ahead to be built. Construction is due to start this summer, and they say it will be open by 2020. At long last.

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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…)

This Government has reneged on its pledge to sort out hospitals

Posted in Uncategorized by saraburke on November 30, 2015

Opinion from the Irish Independent on 30 November 2015

Enda Kenny ran for election in 2007 pledging to “end the scandal of patients on trolleys”. By 2011, he was even more ambitious, promising that “the two-tier system of unequal access to hospital care will end”. (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…)

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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Next year will be the most difficult yet for health services

Posted in Uncategorized by saraburke on October 14, 2015

From the irish Independent on 14 October 2015

In the opening gambit for Budget 2016, Minister Michael Noonan promised “more doctors and nurses” as “sensible and affordable” measures. Minister Howlin hailed it as “the second budget in succession in which we are able to increase support for our public services”. (more…)

Plugging the black hole

Posted in Uncategorized by saraburke on October 8, 2015

Column from Medical Independent on 8 October 2015

When Leo Varadkar took up post as health minister, he prioritised securing an ‘adequate’ budget for health. He did this in the hope that he could break the cycle of over-spending in health. Come early December 2014, the rumours about the extent of the supplementary budget required for health were quashed when a whopping €680 million supplementary budget was announced.

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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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Getting ready for action

Posted in Uncategorized by saraburke on September 24, 2015

Column from Medical Independent on 24 September 2015.

Ireland is often not the welcoming place it claims to be. Media images of refugees putting their lives at risk to get to Europe, and in particular the shocking sight of the dead body of Aylan Kurdi, the three-year-old Syrian washed up on the coast of Turkey, triggered a rush of good will from Irish citizens.The Government eventually announced that 4,000 refugees would be welcomed here under relocation and resettlement programmes over the next two years. So what are these refugees’ health needs and how will the Irish health system respond?  (more…)

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…)