Healthy Systems

Night thoughts of a jobbing epidemiologist

Primary care and the new GP contract

The new GP contract  was the subject of much debate and discussion at the IMO AGM over the weekend, and the members have supported it. There are more details of the draft contract on the IMO website, but all seem to be in the members-only section. (As I’m a member I can read them, but I don’t think it appropriate to share more widely). Thecouncil of the other main GP representative body, the .. Read More

Adoption and same-sex couples – some evidence

In the light of recent discussion on the Child and Family Relationships Bill, and some issues raised by the referendum on marriage equality, I have looked at recent evidence on the outcomes for children adopted by same-sex parents. The short version is that there is no evidence for worse outcomes in children adopted by same-sex couples. My judgement is that there is enough evidence to support equality in adoption for same-sex, and heterosexual.. Read More

Primary care – can pharmacists fix it?

The IPU held a seminar today, reported by Paul Cullen in the Irish Times. I wasn’t at it, but I found the report intriguing. Based on Paul’s report, and the press release on the IPU website, the general proposition was that ‘Pharmacists hold key to reducing pressure in GP’s surgeries’. There were two main points, one that many minor ailments which could be dealt with elsewhere are managed by GPs, and the other.. Read More

‘On Wednesday We Wear Pirate Hats’ The BT Young Scientist &Technology Exhibition and the state of younger people in Ireland

I was lucky enough to be one of the judges at the BT Young Scientist’s exhibition in Dublin in the first week of January. This gave me two rather different opportunities to see Irish school children. First, I got to meet the people who put in projects. These included the eventual winners, Ian O’Sullivan and Eimear Murphy from Cork, and about forty other people, all aged between 12 and 18, whose group projects,.. Read More

HSE Service Plan 2015

The HSE Service plan is out today, and you can read it here. I’ve just finished reviewing it for the Pat Kenny show on Newstalk. Some key points Some money to reduce waiting lists in acute hospitals Some money to support moving patients out of hospitals in to home care or long term care Hospital groups to happen Palliative care service in the Midlands for the first time Better access to diagnostics for.. Read More

Have your Say in Ireland – Seanad Éireann

The next Seanad will be elected, most likely in June 2016, in the same unsatisfactory way as the current Seanad. Most of the senators will be elected by the votes of local authority members, and members of the Dail. The Taoiseach will appoint eleven senators. Six members will be elected, most likely as at present, three by graduates of TCD, and three by graduates of the NUI. There is a slim chance, if.. Read More

Funding universities – newish ideas from the IEA

There is an admirably bonkers new paper from Peter Ainsworth of the IEA with the title “Universities challenged: funding higher education through a free-market ‘graduate tax’”. I’m obsessed, amongst other things, with ways of funding higher education, so I read it cover to cover. Some background first, as many people will not be familiar with the IEA. They describe themselves as a think-tank whose members, “all those associated with the Institute support free.. Read More

Patients First meeting in Navan

I’m just back from the Patients First meeting in Navan. This is their third meeting, but the first I’ve been able to get to. Their core goals of the campaign are :- Budget must protect health service and patient care. An independent, transparent, free, easily accessible, feedback mechanism that provides all patients, carers and family members the opportunity to share their healthcare story and engage with service providers. Safe staffing based on patient.. Read More

Juggling and the older brain

If you know me, you will know that I am not the most dexterous person. I was never going to have a career as a surgeon. I read a paper some years ago that gave me hope that I might yet improve (not that I might take up surgery). I vaguely recollected that the authors had shown evidence of unexpected brain plasticity in older people, by documenting structural changes in the brain after.. Read More

Consultant salaries in Ireland – some evidence

There’s been a lot of discussion about public sector salaries over the last few days, and in particular about consultant salaries. A revised salary scale has been proposed for all newly appointed consultants, raising the starting and final salaries significantly. At the same time there are pre-budget murmurings about raising public sector salaries again. I am, of course, a public sector worker, so I am not entirely disinterested in this. My 2c are.. Read More