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Chronic neglect means it’s right to be apprehensive about winter

In this issue of the Medical Independent (MI), our main feature focuses on the uncertainty of the coming winter period. This uncertainty is driven by the reopening of society after more than a year of restrictions to limit the spread of Covid-19. While Ireland’s high vaccination rate offers encouragement, the greater transmissibility of the Delta…

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Building for the future

During the Covid-19 pandemic, much focus has been on the new. To control the spread of the virus, social distancing measures were implemented. There was also the reorganisation of health services and the agreement with private hospitals to ensure capacity in the event of a surge. Virtual clinics became the norm rather than the exception.…

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More action required on HCV

Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic and the remarkable breakthroughs seen in vaccinology, another virus was the centrepiece of recent medical innovation. Within the past decade, direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) have revolutionised treatment of hepatitis C virus (HCV), making international elimination goals eminently achievable. In theory, of course. HCV largely affects marginalised sections of societies, with injecting…

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Time to change the changeover

In the previous issue of the Medical Independent, columnist Dr Michael Conroy wrote about the significant personal and professional disruption caused by the NCHD annual changeover (‘The Mayfly Effect’). According to Dr Conroy, who is a registrar in oncology: “The turbulence of our rotation system has few parallels in any other workplace andmake a stable…

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Onus on Department to listen to concerns about draft contract

To say the reaction to the draft Sláintecare consultant contract has not been positive is to put it mildly. Doctors on social media have been quick to let their feelings be known. The comments made by Dr Tony O’Sullivan, a General and Acute Physician based in Australia, would have resonated with many others at home…

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How will the cyberattack influence health service’s use of AI?

The impact of the recent cyberattack on the HSE has highlighted the health service’s increasing dependence on technology. The ransomware strike had the effect of practically shutting down many services in hospitals and other healthcare settings. The effects of the incident continue to be felt weeks later by healthcare professionals and patients.The answer to the…

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Preparing for the worst

Acrippling cyberattack on the health service in the middle of a global pandemic is a nightmare scenario within a nightmare scenario. It is something that would have been almost impossible to imagine a couple of years ago. But it is, unfortunately, yet another dark twist in our ‘post-Covid’ world and all too real. There are…

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When should Ministers stay quiet and let the experts speak?

The Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly came in for some criticism recently when it was revealed that he asked Department of Health officials why he was not being mentioned in tweets from the Department’s feed. According to a story in The Irish Times in April, an analysis of the feed was completed for the Minister…

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Immunisation and global solidarity

Vaccines have dominated the news agenda recently for obvious reasons. But it can be easy to forget that Covid-19 is not the only threat to global health and that many other diseases require essential vaccination programmes to be kept under control. Nevertheless, the current pandemic has made it difficult for these programmes – which vaccinate…

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Public health agreement long overdue, but welcome

The IMO’s annual general meeting (AGM), held on 17 April, was unlike any other in the Organisation’s history. Instead of the opulent surroundings of the Europe Hotel in Killarney (to where the conference returned in 2018 due to popular demand), the AGM was held virtually. In addition to speeches and presentations, it featured video interviews…

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