SaraBurke.com

Hard choices to be made in the political parlour

Posted in Uncategorized by saraburke on July 9, 2015

Column from Irish Independent on 8 July 2015.

Game on for Budget 2016, with the impending general election in sight. Last Friday, Tánaiste Joan Burton warned interest groups at the Social Protection forum in Dublin Castle that “the Budget isn’t a parlour game in which everybody puts out what they would like”.

(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…)

Straight-talking Leo must come clean on UHI cost

Posted in Uncategorized by saraburke on July 1, 2015

Column from Irish Independent on 1 July 2015.

Health minister Leo Varadkar is known for his straight-talking. But he is not being totally candid in relation to the cost of his own government’s Universal Health Insurance (UHI) policy. He is choosing not to publish detailed costings presented to him on May 21, 2015, which shows the Government’s model is overly expensive.

The ESRI costings, seen by the Irish Independent, reveal that Government’s flagship health project of UHI as promised in the Programme for Government would cost between 3.5pc and 10.7pc more than the current system. Critically, they find that the main drivers of the high costs would be the insurance companies’ profits and the fact that there would be multiple payers for healthcare in the form of competing health insurance companies.

(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.

(more…)

We are failing when people aged 102 are left on trolleys

Posted in Uncategorized by saraburke on June 10, 2015

Analysis from the Irish Independent on 10 June 2015 on ED over-crowding

Nine weeks after the publication of the Emergency Department Task Force Action Plan and nine years after then-health minister Mary Harney declared A&E overcrowding a ‘national emergency’, some of our oldest citizens are being exposed to ‘forms of torture’ in this country’s Emergency Departments (EDs).
(more…)

Life-time community rating is a quick fix but not a solution

Posted in Uncategorized by saraburke on May 14, 2015

The private insurance push demonstrates that the Government has no intention of ensuring fairer access to healthcare. See here for Medical Independent column on 15 May 2015.
In classic Department of Health newspeak, so-called ‘lifetime community rating’ means the opposite to the very principle of community rating. Up to 1 May 2015, Ireland’s private health insurance system operated under a system of ‘community rating’, whereby everybody was charged the same premium for a health insurance plan, irrespective of their age, gender or health status. (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…)

An election crisis in waiting

Posted in Uncategorized by saraburke on February 19, 2015

My column from the Medical Independent on 19 February 2015

Extensive overcrowding in emergency departments and in our public hospitals continues to dominate the public and political radar in the early weeks and months of 2015. It is evident that there are continued high numbers on trolleys and in delayed discharges. (more…)

Good for Leo, good for Ireland

Posted in Uncategorized by saraburke on February 5, 2015

See here column from the Medical Independent on 5 February 2015

Nobody should have to media-manage going public over their sexual orientation. And it should not be headline news that a minister is gay. Unfortunately, both are still the reality in Ireland in 2015. (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…)