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A Christmas wish for the future of our health service

And so, the year ends much as it began, with talk of restrictions and questions about the rollout of the vaccination programme. December is usually a time to take stock, to assess the previous 12 months and look forward to the future. The suspended reality we have been living in since the beginning of 2020…

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A guide to preventing and responding to violent incidents

Dr Michael Devlin, Medical Defence Union, Head of Professional Standards and Liaison, provides advice on how to deal with aggressive patients Staff shortages, overcrowding and exceptional patient demand are some of the factors that have contributed to a pressure cooker atmosphere in many healthcare settings, which is taking its toll on staff and patients alike.…

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A pioneer of psychiatry in Ireland

The contributions of the late Dr Des McGrath to the specialty of psychiatry in this country were enormous I was deeply saddened to read of the death of Dr Sean Desmond (Des) McGrath, a distinguished psychiatrist who will be familiar to many readers. McGrath was Medical Director of St John of God Hospital in Stillorgan,…

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How we can all protect the health of the planet

The healthcare sector has an important role to play in combatting the climate crisis I can’t be the only one who is increasingly feeling the growing gnawing dread of environmental anxiety in recent times. Even ignoring the damp squib that was the outcome of the recent COP26 conference, the simultaneous news stories of floods and…

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Will self-interest motivate Ireland to be stronger on vaccine equity?

On 29 November, in a joint statement, the Department of Health and the Department of Foreign Affairs announced that a consignment of 500,000 Covid-19 vaccines donated by Ireland arrived in Nigeria. The Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly noted that this is Ireland’s second significant vaccine donation in recent months following a recent delivery to Uganda.…

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Covid anxiety: How to support your patients

Dr Rachel Birch, Medico-legal Consultant at Medical Protection, addresses the issue of patients with Covid anxiety and offers practical advice for GP practices and hospital outpatient settings There is no doubt that the Covid-19 pandemic has caused concern to many, if not all of us. However, as the pandemic continues, and more waves of infection…

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An unwanted feeling of déjà vu heading into Christmas

There is a sense of déjà vu at the moment: The rising numbers of Covid-19 cases, a hospital system crackingat the seams, and grim pronouncements by senior politicians and health officials a regular occurrence. We have been here before. Over the past year-and-a-half, there have been three national lockdowns. We know the drill. So why…

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The hybrid model of medical consultation

Are we entering a brave new world for healthcare access? Agrowing concern amongst all health professionals is how the Covid-19 pandemic continues to erode the rest of healthcare. Hospital waiting times, never in the best of health, have skyrocketed with the recurrent curtailment of operating theatre time as ‘regular’ ICU beds are occupied with the…

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Introducing the healthcare metaverse

Traditional healthcare institutions won’t have a choice on whether they embrace new technologies. Facebook, one of the largest technology companies on the planet, recently changed its name to ‘Meta’, signifying its aspiration to become the ultimate ‘Metaverse’ company of the future.But what is the metaverse? What will it mean for society in general and, more…

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When the atypical is typical

Biases in clinical research have compromised the medical treatment of women for decades If there’s one thing a doctor loves, it is a symptom that is “classical”. At med school, we learned multiple lists of physical complaints and experiences that were neatly boxed into diagnostic criteria, which helpfully corresponded to multiple lists of clinical syndromes…

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