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

Saving our public health service in midst of the economic crisis – an opportunity or an insurmountable task?

Posted in Blog by saraburke on May 7, 2010

Here is a very long paper I gave to the INMO annual conference yesterday. Also a podcast of it and other speeches is here along with the Minister’s.


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…)

A week is a long time in health politics…

Posted in Blog by saraburke on March 15, 2010

This time one week ago, no one knew about the 57,000 plus unreported x rays in Tallaght hospital, no one had spoken openly about the 3,000 or 30,000 unread GP referral letters. Six days on from the story being broken by RTE’s Fergal Bowers, no one from the hospital has claimed responsibility, and according to themselves, neither the Minister nor the HSE are responsible. So what on earth is going on??   (more…)

Posted in Uncategorized by saraburke on May 15, 2009

Sara Burke is a journalist, broadcaster and health policy analyst. She has a weekly health slot on RTE Radio 1’s Drivetime programme, which is usually aired on a Thursday, but can go out other days, depending on breaking news.

She has  just written a book on the Irish health system called Irish Apartheid, Healthcare Inequality in Ireland, which will be published by New Island at the end of June 2009. Her writings and thoughts are regulars features in Irish newspapers, magazines, radio and TV programmes. 

She is currently in year one of  a PhD in Health Service Research in Trinity College Dublin. This is part of a joint programme with University College Cork and Royal  College of Surgeons in Ireland. 

From 2004 to 2006, Sara worked as managing editor in Village magazine, a weekly political magazine edited by Vincent Browne. She still writes occasionally for its new incarnation under the editorship of Michael Smith. 

She has worked in, researched and written on inequalities in public health, health and social services since 1992.

From 2000 to 2004, she was a policy analyst in the Institute of Public Health, an all Ireland organisation, which advises governments, North and South, on strategies to reduce health inequalities. For two and half years in the late 1990s, she worked as a researcher and policy officer in the Department of Health.

From 1992 to 1997, she worked an outreach street worker for Focus Ireland with homeless teenagers in Dublin’s city centre.