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When ‘real’ life rivals fiction

Speaking recently to the New York Times, Ms Sandra Zampa, Under Secretary of Italy’s Health Ministry, said when Covid-19 first spread in China, Italians followed events as they would do a science fiction movie. Not much later, when the novel coronavirus came to its shores and ravaged Northern Italy, she said Europe “looked at us in…

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An outbreak in the information age

Perhaps the only thing to match the spread of the new coronavirus, or Covid-19, are news articles and social media posts about the spread of the virus. This editorial can be added to the latter’s growing number. The scale of the outbreak has the potential not only to put significant strain on the healthcare services…

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The crossover between housing and health

n our last editorial, we focused on how healthcare was the most important issue for the electorate based on an Ipsos/MRBI exit poll. After healthcare, the most important issue was housing. Like healthcare, housing is a wide area. It encompasses everything from someone trying to buy their first home, to the growing problem of homelessness. …

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An era-defining general election has put health at the top of the agenda

As this editorial is being written the country is still shaking from the ramifications of the general election results, which have seen Sinn Féin win most first preference votes and emerge as at least an equal to the two traditional large parties, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael. One of the interesting results of the exit…

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The Sláintecare election

Perhaps the defining moment of the Claire Byrne Live health debate on 20 January came at the end of the programme when Fianna Fáil’s health spokesperson Mr Stephen Donnelly was repeatedly told that many of his party’s healthcare proposals were in the Sláintecare Report. The sight of the Social Democrats co-leader Ms Róisín Shortall, egged…

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Waiting for IT — progress in digitising the health service has been beset with delays

Mary Harney remarkably did not use a computer during her time as Minister for Health. Yet her tenure marked the period when voices calling for IT to transform healthcare delivery became louder. At the end of 2009, the then Minister received a report by the Healthcare ICT Industry Group titled ICT’s Role in Healthcare Transformation.…

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On Clive James, ibrutinib, and the NHS

“One of the virtues of the NHS is that it doesn’t worry you about money at the moment when you’re least capable of doing anything about it.” his was one of the multitude of Clive James quotations printed on the death of the writer, poet, and broadcaster last November. Towards the end of his life,…

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The costs of healthcare reform

In the previous issue of the Medical Independent (MI), we revealed how the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER) said it would not support a draft memo for the Government on the regional division of the health service prior to discussing the HSE’s deteriorating financial situation with the Department of Health. The position was…

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The Stark reality of winter plans — fact can be more harsh than fiction

f the HSE is ever in need of a new slogan, it could do worse than use one of the most famous lines from the TV series Game of Thrones, which came to an end earlier this year. The phrase ‘Winter is coming’ is by now familiar even to those who never watched the show.…

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Better Late Late than never

The outpouring of tributes on the death of Gay Byrne was to be expected, given the pivotal role he played in debates on the future of Irish society during his 37-year tenure as host of The Late Late Show. During this time, the conservatism of Irish culture was challenged on the programme, with the role…

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