Consultants frustrated over cutbacks to services and pay

Figures from an unpublished survey carried out by the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) show that over a quarter of consultants are thinking of leaving the public health system, and that many of them are upset about cuts to services and their own pay. By Sara Burke

The survey of consultants carried out by the IMO - the biggest representative body for doctors in Ireland - got 407 responses, about one sixth of the entire consultant workforce (of 2,400).

Child protection agency is an unknown quantity

The new, and first, Minister for Children, Frances Fitzgerald, had fighting words about the new protection and welfare agency  - it would end 'the procrastination, the deception and evasion that has allowed abusers go unpunished'. Sara Burke looks behind the rhetoric


Ireland's falling life expectancy

The impact of the austerity measures is particularly pronounced in Ireland's health services. While the health budget has been severely cut, patients also face increased charges at a time when incomes are tumbling. The inevitable result is, as Sara Burke points out below, that the health of ordinary people inIreland will decline and that ultimately lives will be lost.


A healthy nation hangs in the balance

How we vote on Friday will impact on Ireland's health system for years to come. Fianna Fáil is promising more of the same – in its seven-page 'policy' paper the party commits to the continuation of 'reform', of the Health Service Executive, and of the two-tier system with a focus on quality and reorganising services. The only change is a rejection of Mary Harney's plan to co-locate private hospitals on the grounds of public hospitals.

Fianna Fáil manifesto – not a mention of health and co-location abandoned

Speaking on Morning Ireland on 7 January, Minister of State in the Department of Health and Children Barry Andrews said there was no future for co-location. This is the first public acknowledgment that Fianna Fáil have abandoned one of Mary Harney's pet projects – the plan to co-location private hospitals on the grounds of public hospitals.

Up to this, co-location was going ahead, despite doubts and persistent questioning from many. The Ministerial and Departmental line was that it would go ahead even though it was dropped from HSE 2011 Service Plan.

Is health really an issue in election 2011?

With jobs and the economy top of the election 2011 agenda, is health really a concern for voters and candidates in this election, asks Sara Burke.

Health tends to come high up on voters' priority lists but it's definitely not top this time. Of course, the focus is on jobs, economy, and the bank bailout. And while there is lots of rhetoric on health, we have yet to see much of the detail from political parties and candidates.

The health myths that have outlasted Mary Harney

Mary Harney may be gone from the health ministry but many of the myths (and bad policies) that the PDs propagated about the health system remain. In the first of a series of articles drawing out the neoliberal myths that have structured health policy, Sara Burke starts with some of the most basic.

Top of the myth list is the fundamental assumption that public healthcare is bad and private is good.

The Harney Health Legacy 1997-2011

As each day passes, the damage this government has done to the people of Ireland and their health becomes clearer, writes Sara Burke. This article has been cross-posted from the website of Village Magazine.

Government policy since 1997 created the biggest boom and bust experienced by any first-world country since the 1930s.

Harney did great harm to health service

Mary Harney's reign as minister was driven by a philosophy that promoted inequality, writes Sara Burke.

Mary Harney has done great harm to the Irish people. Even before she took on the health ministry, PD ideology (under her leadership) has had a disproportionate impact on government economic and social policy. Their agenda has caused particular destruction since 2000 when the PDs began to meddle with health policy and from 2004 when Mary Harney became Minister for Health.

Failure to reform health system behind VHI rise

There is little competition in the Irish health insurance market, writes Sara Burke.

The announcement by VHI Healthcare that it is to increase premium for the majority of its customers by between 15 per cent and 45 per cent is a direct consequence of Government failure to reform both the health system and the private health insurance market.