Cuts put bite on dental schemes

Posted in Articles by saraburke on October 21, 2009

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…)


A winter of discontent in health lies ahead..

Posted in Blog by saraburke on September 11, 2009

There is no question of whether the health budget will be cut, the question is by how much more, as it is already being cut. In my health slot on 10 September 2009, I looked at the intractable issues in the health system we have failed to solve during the decade we had most. I also outline the impact of the cuts to date, the potential damage of McCarthy’s proposals and who calls the shots in deciding the budget for health.  Here are the mains issues covered. All comments and feedback welcome… 

Despite a decade of mega health investment, we already have system under pressure. Efforts to address certain areas just have not worked.

  • There are still 18,000 public patients waiting over three months for in patient or day procedures. 
  • There are 870 delayed discharges in hospital beds. 
  •  In 2001, we were promised 600 state of the art primary care teams and eight years later, just 120 are in place and I’d doubt that figure. Drumm speaking on This Week on Sunday last said ‘we now have a fabulous primary care infrastructure going in across this country’. This is not credible to most people because to the vast majority of citizens no such ‘fabulous primary care infra structure is evident.
  • If we take A&E, on 9/9/9 (according to the HSE count) there were 84 people waiting over 6 hours or more, 44 of these were waiting over 12 hours and this is after a decision to admit has been made ie it is not a measurement of the time since they arrived in the Emergency department. The INO counted 273 people waiting. 

So in the decade we had most, the HSE has failed to address some of the most intractable issues facing them. 
There is no doubt impact that the cut backs are impacting on patient care.

The HSE’s mantra is that they are providing more and more services, year on year, with less money and fewer staff. And that is true. (more…)

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Proposed health cuts are the wrong way to go

Posted in Articles by saraburke on August 10, 2009

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…)

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