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Several conditions could be added to bloodspot screening programme

Members of the national screening advisory committee (NSAC) have highlighted “several” conditions that could be considered for addition to the new-born bloodspot screening (NBS) programme, the Medical Independent can report. At its meeting on 20 May, the NSAC approved a new standardised application process and procedure for modifications to existing population-based screening programmes. “This builds…

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HIQA report imminent on gynae services at Letterkenny

HIQA’s review of governance arrangements for gynaecology services at Letterkenny University Hospital (LUH) is “almost complete” and due to be published in the coming weeks, a spokesperson informed the Medical Independent (MI) on 6 September. The Authority declined to provide any further comment in advance of the review’s completion and publication. In April 2021, HIQA…

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Confidentiality statements required of HSE pandemic group

Members of the HSE national health protection pandemic incident control team (PICT) are required to sign confidentiality statements, a spokesperson has confirmed. “Confidentiality is an integral part of working in the health services and inherent in all employee roles,” outlined the spokesperson. “It is not unusual to ask groups/committees to agree confidentiality as part of…

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Consultancy for Values in Action ‘culture change’ project has ceased – HSE

There are “no plans” to issue another external contract to support the Values in Action (ViA) staff ‘culture change’ initiative, the HSE has informed the Medical Independent (MI).However, ViA and other “culture improvement work” will continue under the auspices of the “capability and culture function”, which was established in March 2021 in the National HR…

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Concerns mounting over potential severity of winter influenza season

Concerns have been raised within the HSE that a reduction in people’s “genetic memory” of seasonal influenza may lead to a more problematic winter season. Meeting minutes of the HSE’s flu planning steering group on 23 June noted that “people’s genetic memory of flu is now likely to be significantly reduced so if flu circulates,…

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Health remains most lobbied public policy area

Health remains the area of public policy where the greatest amount of lobbying takes place in Ireland, according to data from the lobbying register maintained by the Standards in Public Office Commission (www.lobbying.ie). As of 8 September, the statistics showed health as the policy area with the highest number of registered incidences of lobbying, with…

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HIQA strengthening IT security systems

A project related to the monitoring of HIQA’s IT systems was fast-tracked by the Authority as a result of the recent HSE cyberattack. Last year, HIQA’s external security consultants, BDO, completed a review of cyber security provisions at the Authority. The security review identified items which needed to be improved or strengthened in respect of…

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Almost 20 consultant posts vacant at Letterkenny

There are 19.3 whole-time equivalent (WTE) consultant posts vacant across “a range of medical and surgical specialties” at Letterkenny University Hospital (LUH). “All posts are currently filled by [a] locum, apart from 3.8 WTE,” of which one WTE will be filled by a permanent consultant in forthcoming weeks, according to a spokesperson for Saolta University…

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CPE national emergency status ‘will be stepped down’

The national public health emergency status for the proliferation of carbapenemase-producing Enterobacterales (CPE) in Irish healthcare remains in place, but will be stepped down in “the coming months”. A Department of Health spokesperson told the Medical Independent (MI): “Due to the circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic and the recent cyberattack, the national public health…

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Emergency medicine ‘hit hard’ by consultant recruitment problems

Recruitment and retention for consultants in emergency medicine (EM) is “hit as hard, if not harder than anyother specialty” due to the pay cut for ‘new-entrant’ consultants imposed in 2012, the Medical Independent (MI)has been told. Negotiations on the new Sláintecare consultant contract are due to begin this month. In a recent circular tomembers seen…

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