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Light at the end of the tunnel for consultant agreement?

The IHCA AGM and annual conference 2020 was full of familiar themes: Restoring pay parity for ‘new-entrant’ consultants; the health service’s deficits in staff and capacity; and physician burnout. But there is little that is familiar in this era of lockdowns and physical distancing. You had to look no further than the format in which…

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Will the Government regret not following NPHET’s advice?

The unified front the country presented in the initial surge of Covid-19 appears now to be well and truly over with a serious division having emerged between the Government and the national public health emergency team (NPHET) over the path to follow to curb the spread of the virus. Perhaps this unity was only ever…

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A Winter Plan like no other

When the HSE’s Winter Plan 2019/20 was published, our editorial at the time asked if the name was appropriate anymore. Was it, in management speak, ‘fit for purpose’? Although these plans acknowledge the additional pressure on health services during the winter months, most of the initiatives they contain could apply any time throughout the year…

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Another blow to public health doctors

Just as ‘spin’ was synonymous with the Tony Blair-led New Labour administration of the late 1990s/early 2000s, ‘optics’ became associated with the former Taoiseach, and now Tánaiste, Leo Varadkar and his Government. Both are pejorative and shorthand for a politics valuing style over substance. While it might be superficial, there is sometimes value in judging…

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The Covid-19 era of perpetual uncertainty

At the time of writing, there is a lot of talk about the second Covid-19 wave. At the end of July, World Health Organisation (WHO) spokesperson Dr Margaret Harris dismissed this term. Rather, she said the pandemic was “one big wave”. “The pandemic is a once-in-a-century health crisis, the effects of which will be felt…

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MSF rises to challenge of global Covid-19 catastrophe

In this issue of the Medical Independent, we have published a feature on the work of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and the Covid-19 crisis. The focus of MSF’s work is to provide medical assistance to people affected by conflict, epidemics and disaster. The unprecedented scale of the current pandemic has seen the MSF initiate a…

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Time to value our healthcare workers

It is four months since the then Taoiseach Leo Varadkar stood outside Blair House, Washington DC, and told the nation he needed to speak to us about the coronavirus and Covid-19. That speech and the one to follow five days later, on St Patrick’s Day, marked a fork in the road of most people’s lives…

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Protecting the vulnerable from Covid-19

To date, Ireland has avoided the feared Covid-19 surge. This is, of course, to be welcomed and credit should go to healthcare professionals and other experts, the Government, Department of Health, and the HSE for their part in this national effort. However, our response to the pandemic has not been perfect, with the high number…

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Mental health fallout from pandemic must be addressed

he Covid-19 pandemic has ramifications for all aspects of society and our daily lives. As lockdown becomes our ‘new normal’, increasing attention is being paid to what impact the pandemic is having on our mental health. In a recent statement, Director General of the World Health Organisation (WHO)  Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the psychological…

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