Consultant contract showdown

Posted in Articles by saraburke on April 17, 2014

See below for Medical Independent column from 17 April 2014 on the ongoing dispute between St Vincent’s Hospital and the HSE over consultants’ work (more…)

The health myths that have outlasted Mary Harney

Posted in Blog by saraburke on February 4, 2011

See her article I wrote for crisisjam posted on today

A political show down on universal healthcare…

Posted in Blog by saraburke on April 19, 2010

So at last, the idea of universal healthcare is gaining public and political momentum in Ireland. Last week the Irish Medical Organisation launched a document on universal healthcare coverage and there was a conference on financing and organising social health insurance in Ireland organised by the Adelaide Hospital Society. So what did the respective bodies have to say and where do our political health leaders stand on these proposals?

For the first time in the history of the State, all opposition parties are in support of universal healthcare, albeit in very different ways. Minister Mary Harney remains utterly opposed to such proposals, Fianna Fail have no official health policy other than ‘government’ (ie Mary Harney’s) policy while the Greens position is utterly contradictory….



South east stand off symptomatic of public private mix

Posted in Blog by saraburke on April 9, 2010

On Thursday’s Morning Ireland programme, there was a very public stand-off between the HSE and Whitfield Cancer Centre (run by UPMC) in a row over radiotherapy services in the south east. UPMC threatened to withdraw radiotherapy services for cancer patients in the South East from 1 May next. This spat was a very public manifestation of the mess that is Ireland’s public and private mix of healthcare. In a statement issued later  in the day, both sides said they were back in discussions with the hope of “resolving outstanding contractual issues”. So what was this all about? (more…)

Grin and bear it: how the dental schemes work and what they cost

Posted in Articles by saraburke on October 21, 2009

Dental Treatment Services Scheme: Under the Dental Treatment Services Scheme (DTSS), adults who are medical card holders are entitled to free dental care. Treatment is free to the patient, and privately practising dentists who take part in this scheme claim back the cost of services provided from the Primary Care Reimbursement Scheme (PCRS) in the HSE on a fee-for-service basis.

In August 2009, just over one million people were entitled to the DTSS. Its budget in 2009 is €85 million. As it is a demand-led scheme, it is impossible to accurately estimate the numbers who will avail of the scheme and the cost of it. These have increased significantly since 2008 as more adults are entitled to this scheme, due to the increasing number of medical card holders.

Dental Treatment Benefit Scheme: The Dental Treatment Benefit Scheme (DTBS) contributes to the cost of dental care for about two million working people who pay PRSI contributions, their spouses and dependants. All PRSI contributors are entitled to an examination and a clean free each year, while other treatments are subsidised.

Last year, 1.5 million treatments were provided under this scheme. Dentists who practise privately are paid a fee for this service by the Department of Social and Family Affairs, which runs this scheme. Its budget for 2009 is €68 million.

Public Dental Scheme:

The Public Dental Scheme (PDS) provides free dental care for children, adults with special needs and people in long-term residential care. About 200 dentists work for the PDS as salaried HSE employees.

The PDS operates a screening programme for all children attending national schools in 2nd, 4th and 6th classes. This programme provides preventive and other treatments when required. The budget for the PDS for 2009 is €60 million.

Private dental care:

Many people pay each time they get treated by a dentist. The vast majority of dentists in Ireland operate as self-employed private practitioners. Patients pay the full cost of care at fees agreed with the dentist. Tax relief may be available for fees associated with some types of specialist dental care.

Tue, Oct 20, 2009

© 2009 The Irish Times