In The News

HSE audit committee has ‘major concerns’ over finances

The HSE audit committee has raised “major concerns” over the HSE’s “continuing and predicted budgetary shortfalls” and says it is “disturbed” by ongoing financial control weaknesses. The concerns were outlined by the HSE audit committee in its annual report for 2018, which has been seen by the Medical Independent following a Freedom of Information request.…

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‘Millions’ in IBTS discounts under threat post-Brexit

The Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS) has saved an average of €350,000 annually on blood bags alone over the past five years, in discounts obtained through NHS Blood and Transplant bulk procurement – savings that could end following Brexit. In an interview with the Medical Independent (MI), IBTS CEO Mr Andrew Kelly said the service…

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New law ‘won’t criminalise’ doctors – DoH

The Patient Safety Bill does not intend to “impose criminal penalties on individual health professionals on a personal basis”, with regard to open disclosure obligations, the Department of Health has informed the Medical Independent (MI). Its spokesperson said the Bill will oblige health service providers to engage in open disclosure, but added healthcare professionals “do…

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Irish surgical mortality audit remains stalled

A national audit that would aim to reduce surgical deaths has remained stalled since 2013, with RCSI President Mr Ken Mealy not expecting its commencement “any time soon”. The initiative has been on hold within the National Office of Clinical Audit (NOCA) awaiting legal protection to ensure subjective peer-to-peer review of each death is confidential…

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Vital Irish health research ‘being terminated’

Important health research projects that could lead to “life-changing therapies” are being terminated due to new Irish data protection regulations, the RCPI’s Faculty of Pathology has warned. In a statement to the Medical Independent (MI) the Faculty said it was concerned about the impact that new data protection legislation and Health Research Regulations 2018 implemented…

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Almost 50 bariatric surgeries carried out in first half of 2019

Forty-eight bariatric surgeries were carried out in the first half of 2019, according to figures provided to the Medical Independent (MI). Twenty-five such surgeries took place in St Vincent’s University Hospital (SVUH), Dublin, and eight in St Michael’s Hospital, Dún Laoghaire, representing 33 in the first six months of this year, according to the Ireland…

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Senior HSE managers ‘not challenging toxic attitudes’

There is a “worrying trend” of senior HSE managers “not being inclined to challenge toxic attitudes and relentless negativity about the health service”, the then interim Director General was told by a national director colleague last year. In December, the then HSE Director for Organisational Culture, Ms Kirsten Connolly, emailed the temporary head of the…

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BreastCheck staff ‘under increased pressure’

There has been no rise in staff departures in BreastCheck since controversies emerged in 2018 regarding CervicalCheck, but staff are operating under “increased pressure”, a HSE spokesperson has told the Medical Independent (MI). This is partly due to an increased fear of litigation and difficulties in recruiting radiologists, according to the spokesperson. Currently, there are…

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‘Serious’ campus shortfalls at Rotunda Hospital

The Rotunda Hospital in Dublin is examining the possibility of a major fundraising initiative, including connecting with “high net-worth individuals”, in order to develop its campus due to major concerns around healthcare-associated infections. In June, the Master of the Rotunda Prof Fergal Malone told its board of his “serious concerns” regarding the “sustainability” of the…

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RCSI President backs ‘invited review’ process

The President of the RCSI would like to see an “invited review” process in Irish healthcare whereby a College team would be asked to assess a surgeon or process that is performing poorly. In an interview with the Medical Independent (MI), Mr Ken Mealy said the issue of surgeons who may be under-performing is usually…

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