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Returnees and retired doctors drafted in to fight Covid-19

Irish doctors abroad and recently-retired doctors have vowed to play their part in the fight against Covid-19. The IMO has said “scores and scores” of doctors working abroad have made contact about returning to work in the Irish health system at this time of crisis. “We are assisting people to the greatest extent possible,” Mr…

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Government urged to adopt ‘belt and braces’ approach to securing PPE

The Government needs to explore every avenue in obtaining personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare staff, despite the recent deal struck with China, according to the IHCA’s Vice President Dr Laura Durcan. At the time of going to press (26 March), a flight was due to arrive from China with 11 million masks, one million…

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Transplant services placed in peril by Covid-19

Transplant services in Ireland, and other countries, are in peril due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Irish Government’s action plan on Covid-19 commits to ensuring ongoing services for vital specialties including organ transplant. However, on 24 March, the HSE confirmed to the Medical Independent (MI) that renal transplants at Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, had been “paused”.…

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Inspiring ‘solidarity’ amid public health resource deficits

A Specialist Registrar in Public Health has told the Medical Independent (MI) about the inspiring “solidarity” she has witnessed across the health system in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Dr Laura Heavey, who is also a member of the Association of Public Health Registrars Ireland (APHRI), said the work being done underlined that public health…

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HPSC Director warned CMO about ‘contacts’ loophole in 2015

A senior health protection official warned the Chief Medical Officer in 2015 there was no legal mechanism to enforce public health advice on people who were contacts of confirmed infectious disease cases. The then Director of the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) Dr Darina O’Flanagan urged the Department of Health to undertake an “early review”…

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No permanent head of SDU for over a year

The HSE has not provided any details as to when a permanent head of the special delivery unit (SDU) will be appointed. The SDU has a particular remit in assisting acute hospitals to address overcrowding, which may worsen over the coming months due to the Covid-19 crisis. Ever since the former head of the unit,…

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Organ donation office requires ‘stronger governance role’

The HSE’s Organ Donation and Transplant Ireland (ODTI) requires a “stronger governance role” regarding oversight of funding and transplant centres’ performance, Director Prof Jim Egan has said. According to minutes of an ODTI and the Department of Health meeting on 12 November, “Prof Egan expressed the view that the ODTI needs a stronger governance role.…

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Non-implementation of healthcare audit reports discussed

The HSE quality and safety committee has questioned the non-implementation of a number of healthcare audit recommendations, the Medical Independent can report. At its meeting in December, the minutes of which have been seen by this newspaper through Freedom of Information law, the status of recommendations arising from healthcare audit reports between June and December…

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Low BreastCheck uptake in Dublin’s inner city and northside suburbs

BreastCheck screening uptake in parts of south inner city and northside Dublin was significantly below the national target of 70 per cent, shows data obtained from the HSE. According to the figures covering January 2017 to December 2018, the lowest uptake was in the ‘Mansion House MU’ service area, at just 53.9 per cent. This…

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