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Paediatric cancer services ‘must be self-sufficient’

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of ensuring Ireland has a “self-sufficient” cancer service for children and adolescents, according to Prof Owen Smith, Consultant Paediatric Haematologist, Children’s Health Ireland, Crumlin. Speaking to the Medical Independent, Prof Smith said while the Crumlin service has 95 per cent of the treatments provided by other comprehensive cancer…

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Valproate survivors ‘await supports’

A funded care pathway for children and adults affected by the teratogenic prescription drug, Epilim (sodium valproate), has yet to be implemented, according to patient support group Organisation for Anti-Convulsant Syndrome (OACS) Ireland. The care pathway was a commitment in a HSE valproate response plan instigated in 2018, and this month, an Executive spokesperson informed…

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LGBTI+ ‘resource disparities’ raised with HSE

A series of concerns were raised with HSE social inclusion by LGBTI+ community representatives including “disbandment” of the ChemSex working group and declining availability of STI services, this newspaper has learned. The issues were voiced at the November meeting of the LGBTI+ national inclusion strategy committee, which comprises representatives from Government departments and NGOs, particularly…

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HSE mental health group needs ‘independence’

A HSE implementation group (HIG) to oversee the Government’s new mental health policy will “require a significant degree of independence within the HSE”, according to the Chair of the Department of Health’s national implementation and monitoring committee (NIMC). Sharing the Vision – A New Mental Health Policy for Everyone 2020 – 2030 was published in…

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Low reporting of occupational Covid-19 by healthcare employers

Only 285 occupational cases of Covid-19 were reported to the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) by health and long-term care settings between 24 November 2020 – when a legal reporting requirement came into place – and 29 January 2021. This figure is substantially lower than the 5,325 healthcare worker infections reported as workplace-acquired, according to…

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IBTS changes procedures after bacteria-contaminated platelet incidents

New procedures have been instigated by the Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS) after two incidents involving bacterial contamination of platelets, the Medical Independent (MI) has learned. One incident concerned a pooled platelet with Serratia marcescens identified before the product had been issued. The other involved a returned apheresis platelet with aggregates which, when cultured, contained…

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‘Inadequate’ public health team resourcing on HSE risk register

There is a risk to the ongoing effective management of the pandemic because of “inadequate and sustained resourcing of public health teams”, according to the HSE corporate risk register. The same risk applies to contact tracing capacity and infection prevention and control (IPC) teams, including IPC nursing in community services.The updated risk register, dated October…

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HSE pays over €1.5m in error

The amount the HSE erroneously paid in salary overpayments rose by over €1.5 million in 2020 compared to the previous year, the Medical Independent (MI) can report. In 2020, €5.099 million was paid in overpayments compared to €3.446 million in 2019, an increase of €1.653 million, according to figures supplied by the HSE. The main…

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Fears were raised about needle and syringe supply for Covid vaccination

The HSE says it has secured the required volume of needles and syringes to support the Covid-19 vaccination programme following earlier fears about a possible shortage. Concerns about a potential shortage of needles and syringes were raised at the November 2020 meeting of the Covid-19 immunisation strategy group, minutes of which have been seen by…

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GP co-ops were ‘swamped’

Huge demand for out-of-hours GP services following a surge in Covid-19 cases in December resulted in some co-ops becoming “swamped” over Christmas, it has emerged. One service was forced to take to the airwaves asking people to contact it only if absolutely necessary, such was the demand for GP advice. Another paused its service on…

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