2009 in Healthcare

Health was usurped by the economy as the story of the year in 2009, yet health stories persistently hit the headlines. If you look at the papers on the 29th and 30th December 2009, reading the stories is like ground hog day: crowded A&Es, excessive wait times for colonoscopies, barbaric conditions in psychiatric hospitals. But look if we objectively over the year what were new health stories. The two biggest health stories were – the flu pandemic and President Obama’s efforts to extend health care coverage in USA.

Achievements in cancer care in 2009

Virtually all Irish families are touched by cancer. A year ago the country was still reeling from a series of cancer misdiagnosis scandals. The developments in cancer care in 2009 have been remarkable.

The cancer strategy was published in 2006. It recommended cancer services be centralised in eight designated centres. Up to 2007/8, cancer services were provided in 35 hospitals around the country. 

Now they are provided in these eight specialist centres.

Can consumers save our climate?

Many of the business and government leaders who gathered in Copenhagen for the United Nations climate talks believe that market forces in general—and consumers in particular—will drive the transition to a low-carbon economy. It’s a comforting thought, but I wouldn’t count on it just yet.

The Kindle era

Since, some two weeks ago, I avoided the cold damp miseries of our British winter by moving myself to southern California (and avoided disruption of my daily activities by moving my laptop with me), I have been investigating the world of self publishing by e-book – digital self publishing.

In praise of those whose time has run out

Several years ago, in response to a column I had written to do with the Catholic Church, Cahal Daly wrote a letter to me, which I remember as a magnificent put-down.  It was witty, clever and respectful, but a put-down. I responded in a similar vein, acknowledging the put-down, and we corresponded occasionally since then. (Unfortunately, I do not now recall what the point at issue was, nor can I find any of his letters).

Catholic Church has a culture of survival, not compassion

The campaign of Diarmuid Martin, the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, to be rid of turbulent bishops who, he believes, shared corporate responsibility in the diocese for the concealment of clerical child abuse seems unfair and quixotic.

Unfair and quixotic, because it is not these bishops who are primarily to blame for the concealment of this abuse. It is the culture, the ethos, indeed the very being of the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. Diarmuid Martin has not acknowledged this, maybe because he can’t, for it would defy his own identity as a major functionary of that Church.

Insidious titles induce a damaging culture of deference

In the functional library of the Mater Dei Institute on the afternoon of Thursday, November 26,Diarmuid Martin, the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, had just read his statement of apology and shame following the publication of the Murphy Report on the archdiocese.

Motorists cautioned over severe weather

The Irish Road Safety Authority has launched new publication today entitled ‘Severe Weather Advice for Road Users’. The publication contains advice for road users in various adverse weather conditions including Heavy Rainfall and Flooding, severe fog and snowy conditions.

Vatican guilty of unholy compassion for paedophiles

In 1922, the Vatican promulgated an instruction to do with what it called crimen solicitationis (the crime of solicitation within the confessional) and what it called the ‘‘worst crime’’ - the sexual abuse of children. The document was issued in Latin. No authoritative version was produced in English.

The document was circulated only to bishops and under terms of strict secrecy.

A new version of the guidelines was produced in 1962, but this, according to the Murphy Commission, was unknown within the Dublin diocese until some time in the 1990s.