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Brexit cloud continues to hang over Irish healthcare

By Paul Mulholland | Aug 20, 2019 |

The ascension of Boris Johnson to British Prime Minister has made the prospect of a no-deal Brexit much more likely.…

The perpetual circle of health restructuring

By Paul Mulholland | Aug 7, 2019 |

Not long after the appointment of a new HSE CEO and board, and another round in what seems to be…

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

By Paul Mulholland | Jul 17, 2019 |

The recent Your Training Counts report from the Medical Council made for stark reading for anyone interested in the wellbeing…

Lack of continuity at top of HSE threatens quality improvement

By Paul Mulholland | Jul 2, 2019 |

Institutional memory is the collective knowledge and learned experiences of a group. It is a way for an institution to…

The problem with Angola

By sa | Mar 4, 2019 |

In his time as Minister for Health, the former Taoiseach Brian Cowen once famously referred to the Department of Health…

Is hope on the horizon for public health doctors?

By sa | Jan 23, 2019 |

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.

Financial pressure in uncertain times

By sa | Jan 7, 2019 |

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.

A turning point for society?

By sa | Dec 19, 2018 |

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”.

The subjective nature of experience

By sa | Dec 4, 2018 |

HIQA recently published the results of the second National Patient Experience Survey, the largest survey of its kind in Ireland. According to the survey, the majority of patients (84 per cent) said they had a ‘good’ or a ‘very good’ overall experience in hospital in May 2018. Although there were negative findings — for instance, 40 per cent of respondents said they did not have enough time to discuss their care and treatment with a doctor, while 34 per cent said that they were not adequately informed about ‘danger signals’ to watch out for when they went home — the survey results, in general, paint a more positive picture of the health service than is usually portrayed in the media.

The ‘bloodless realm’ of official speech

By sa | Nov 22, 2018 |

The recent revelations of structural problems in school buildings bring to mind one of the best Irish novels of modern times, Mike McCormack’s Solar Bones. Near the end of the novel, the lead character, Marcus Conway, a civil engineer with the local council, refuses to sign-off on the construction of a new school due to concerns about the foundations. This brings Marcus into conflict with a local councillor and the building contractor, who end up circumventing him and building the school anyway. The parallel between the real-world developments and the story is a testament to McCormack’s insight, almost literally, into the building blocks of Irish society.

No happy New Year wishes from Taoiseach

By sa | Nov 12, 2018 |

Remember January 2015? That month, the annual emergency department (ED) crisis hit hospitals harder than usual. The number of patients on trolleys in hospitals across Ireland reached a record number of 601 on 6 January (an unwanted record that has since been broken). Patients and healthcare staff looked to the HSE and the Minister for Health for a solution to the crisis. But the Minister at the time, Leo Varadkar, was nowhere to be found. Mr Varadkar had escaped the harshness of the Irish winter and was on a sun holiday in Miami.

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