Editorial

Speaking out on the troubles of the world

The Amazon rainforest fires are another unwanted example of the extensive damage humans can do to the environment. Environmental campaigners have said the wildfires, which have devastated the region, are the result of deforestation. Although wildfires occur in the dry season in Brazil, they are also deliberately started to clear land for cattle ranching. The…

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Brexit cloud continues to hang over Irish healthcare

The ascension of Boris Johnson to British Prime Minister has made the prospect of a no-deal Brexit much more likely. Although such a scenario could potentially be vetoed by parliament, there remains a huge degree of uncertainty about what will transpire after the deadline for Brexit passes on 31 October. The consequences of a no-deal…

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The perpetual circle of health restructuring

Not long after the appointment of a new HSE CEO and board, and another round in what seems to be the never-ending process of internal reorganisation, the announcement was made that the health service would be divided into six regional areas. The division is based on recommendations in the Sláintecare Report, which called for the…

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Cause and effect — the insidious reasons for bullying in the health service

The recent Your Training Counts report from the Medical Council made for stark reading for anyone interested in the wellbeing of young doctors starting their careers. According to the survey, 41 per cent of trainees experienced some form of bullying or harassment in their roles, an increase from 34 per cent in 2014. The data,…

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Lack of continuity at top of HSE threatens quality improvement

Institutional memory is the collective knowledge and learned experiences of a group. It is a way for an institution to connect what has worked well in the past, with what could work well in the future. Losing key staff members with in-depth familiarity of a given area poses a threat to the continuity needed for…

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The problem with Angola

In his time as Minister for Health, the former Taoiseach Brian Cowen once famously referred to the Department of Health as ‘Angola’. This was due to the number of political landmines that were ready to explode in the face of unsuspecting Ministers. The quip is regularly trotted-out by political reporters on the appointment of a…

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The right to strike

When healthcare workers threaten strike, opponents usually bring up the damage industrial action will have on patient care. Newspaper stories are framed around the “significant disruption” the strike will cause. The disruption brought about by a seemingly never-ending recruitment and retention crises can be forgotten unless proper context is given.

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Is hope on the horizon for public health doctors?

Public health doctors were not a happy group towards the end of last year. The group were becoming increasingly frustrated at the continuing pay disparity between themselves and other specialists and their lack of consultant status. Not only that, but they were not even permitted to see the Review of Public Health Medicine, commissioned by the Department of Health and conducted by the consultancy firm Crowe, regarding the future of the specialty.

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Financial pressure in uncertain times

As usual, the HSE published its service plan just when most people were turning their attention away from the news towards the reprieve of the Christmas period. Although the completion of the plan has to abide by certain timelines, it is almost as if the Executive doesn’t want a detailed and forensic examination of its annual mission statement.

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A turning point for society?

In a year dominated by women’s health issues, it is fitting that this last Medical Independent of 2018 contains an interview with the first female Chair of the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. Dr Cliona Murphy speaks about the central role doctors played in the referendum campaign to repeal the Eighth Amendment and her own decision to advocate for a ‘yes’ vote. She said many medical professionals felt it was their duty to give a voice to “those women who would not be strong enough to stand up and give their personal stories”.

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