* ‘Quality in preference to quantity’ and ‘evidence of value for money’ must be the two ‘vitals’ for a reformed new government. read full article
MORE hairshirt budgets are in prospect after the Central Bank urged the Government not to let up on austerity and Finance Minister Michael Noonan admitted next year’s cuts and taxes wil read full article
Did the Tobacco Industry Arrange for European Commission headquarters in Brussels to be Burgled?
On the night of October 17th/18th last year, burglars targeted three offices housed in an eight- storey office block near the European Commission headquarters in Brussels. They entered through the windows, disabled outdoor sensors and then waited for 45 seconds. They knew where the internal alarm was situated.
They took several laptops, although significantly not the chargers. Clearly it was not the laptops they were after, but the information inside them.
All those organisations have one thing in common – they are all engaged in the business of tobacco control.
Qui bono? Who benefits? Who would be interested in breaking into the offices of NGOs involved in tobacco control and why would the burglars be interested in laptops which had information only of interest to those in the tobacco industry?
In a recent interjection at the Oireachtas committee on health, the Minister for Health James Reilly gave a colourful if not altogether accurate description of the “black ops” involved in that break-in.
“The intruders abseiled down from the roof to the seventh floor of the building, cut holes in the plate-glass window, disabled the alarms and got into the offices.
“There were a number of offices and they went straight to the Office of Tobacco Control and removed all the hard discs from the computers.
“Who could afford to launch such an operation?”
Who indeed? Florence Berteletti Kemp, the director of the Smoke Free Partnership, said those who carried it out were “top professionals” and knew exactly what they were looking for. “I cannot say who did it, but I will leave it to the public imagination,” she said.
Kemp was one of the speakers at last week’s European Week against Cancer conference in the Aviva Stadium.
She said the break-in “delayed our work for at least a week or two”, but was ultimately a futile act because the most critical information was backed up.
The day after the health commissioner John Dalli resigned over a scandal which involved the tobacco industry.
It had been alleged that a friend of his in Malta had sought a large bribe from a Swedish company which makes a tobacco product called Snus citing his influence with Dalli. Dalli has denied any impropriety.
Coincidentally, Dalli was a stern advocate of the tobacco directive which is currently with the Irish presidency of the EU.
Rightly or wrongly, the tobacco industry was blamed for both events but the actions had the opposite effect, according to Kemp.
“I would say that it redoubled our efforts. It has brought the subject of the power of the industry to the parliament. It was a bad idea. It totally backfired on whoever did it.”
Advancing the directive is now in the gift of the Irish presidency and our fiercely anti-smoking Minister for Health Dr Reilly.
He said the break-in made the European Commission aware “that there was a real danger that the tobacco industry had the upper hand on them and clearly the commission is not going to allow that.”
The tobacco directive has a number of main provisions. The first is to outlaw cigarettes such as those flavoured with, for example, menthol or vanilla; the second is to ensure that health warnings cover at least 75 per cent of the pack face, although some countries want it smaller than that; and the third is to ban so-called slim cigarettes which are mainly marketed at women.
It does not include provision for plain packaging which will be brought in by Ireland unilaterally.
While there is broad agreement on the need for tobacco control, tobacco manufacturing is a big industry in countries such as Greece, Spain, the Czech Republic and Poland.
Dr Reilly acknowledged that there was “very serious” opposition from certain countries, particularly Poland which has Europe’s second largest tobacco industry.
He said the goal of the Irish presidency was to get an agreed position on the directive at European Commission level and then take it to the parliament for approval.
“I’m a great believer in doing what is pragmatic and doing what is quick rather than try to hold out for the perfection that never comes your way,” he said. “There is a real sense that this is an important initiative and it has to be done.”
The Lithuanian presidency, which takes over from Ireland in July, will now be charged with bringing the directive forward.
“The Lithuanian presidency is very supportive of this and they are determined to lead the charge, but it is very difficult to know when it will come into force,” the Minister concluded.
Dr Reilly said he lost his brother, a doctor and smoker, to lung cancer and his father, another smoker, suffered a stroke and was prematurely blind for the last 14 years of his life.
Ireland will become the second country in the world, after Australia, to remove branding from tobacco product packaging.
The cabinet signed off on Dr Reilly’s proposal today and it is expected legislation will be in place by early next year.
All forms of branding, including trademarks, logos, colours and graphics, will be removed from cigarette packets, while brand name will be presented in a uniform typeface for all brands and the packs would all be in one plain neutral colour. Health warnings will be given more prominence.
The Department of Health said there is strong evidence that standardised packaging will increase the effectiveness of health warnings; reduce false health beliefs about cigarettes and reduce brand appeal particularly among youth and young adults.
Dr Reilly was critical of the recent meeting involving the Taoiseach, Minister for Finance and Minister for Justice with the tobacco industry, but he expressed satisfaction with the substance of the meeting.
“The minutes of the meeting will show very clearly that all that was discussed was smuggling and nothing else,” he said.
“The Taoiseach and the Minister for Finance have duties broader than mine in relation to health. I can tell you this much – the fact that the cabinet has passed a motion to pursue a law to bring this bill in is sign enough for me that I have got huge support from the Taoiseach and the Government.
“For me as a professional, this (smoking) is something that is intolerable. We have to protect our children from it. As adults we make our own decisions, but when you are an adult and you are addicted it is very hard to give them up.”
Dr Reilly said the measure has been so successful in Australia that tobacco companies have had to release statements saying that their cigarettes had not changed in taste as many of its customers were complaining about the taste.
A fierce critic of the tobacco industry, Dr Reilly said the industry needed to replace those who have died from tobacco-related illnesses, one-in-two who smoke, with young people who start smoking.
Dr Reilly said he was certain that the tobacco industry would seek to challenge the plain packaging in the courts.
However, he said such a move would be a measure of their desperation and also of the effectiveness of the measure.
The Irish Tobacco Manufacturers Advisory Committee said the initiative was a huge boost to the illegal tobacco industry, claiming the proposed legislation would make all packs look the same allowing counterfeiters to produce all brands of illegal cigarettes with greater ease.
Dr Reilly countered by stating there was “no research, none” to back up assertions by the tobacco industry that plain packaging would lead to increases in smuggling.
“Let’s call a spade a spade. What would you call a product that kills one in two users? Purveyors of death – I really do feel very strongly about this. I don’t know any smoker who wants their child to smoke. How can we support this industry?”
Here’s a news item – “a new hospital waiting list initiative has been launched aimed at clearing long waiters. At present, five hospitals account for over 60% of those on inpatient hospital waiting lists for more than a year. Latest figures show that just over 18,500 patients are waiting over three months for hospital treatment, while just over 8,600 are waiting over six months.”
Here’s another new item – “a new hospital waiting list initiative has been launched aimed at clearing long waiters. At present, five hospitals account for 70% of people waiting more than a year for treatment. Latest figures show that just under 24,000 are waiting more than three months for treatment, while just over 11,300 are waiting longer than six months for treatment. The numbers waiting over six months have nearly doubled over the past four months.”
The first news item is from January 2010, during the tenure of that much berated former Health Minister, Mary Harney. The second news item is from this week, during the tenure of the current Health Minister James Reilly, who we are told (frequently) is tackling the waiting list problem.
Well, if frequently launching waiting list initiatives and issuing upbeat statements constitutes tackling the problem, one can suppose that Minister Reilly is tackling the problem.
Unfortunately, statistics tend to be brutally frank, and the latest waiting list figures would beg the question as to whether anything has really changed since Mary Harney departed Hawkins House in early 2011.
Admittedly, the numbers on waiting lists increased substantially during Ms Harney’s tenure after January 2010, and by the time James Reilly came to office in March 2011, three month plus waiters stood at 26,000. After a short period of decline,the numbers are now almost reaching those not so dazzling heights yet again.
The Minister has just announced he has launched yet another initiative aimed at clearing the long waiters from the five hospitals responsible for the longest lists
Ministerial initiatives to tackle waiting list backlogs have been part and parcel of the health planning landscape since before Mary Harney’s time as Minister.
Unfortunately, to date they have been no more than more than sticking plaster solutions that so far have failed to tackle the resourcing and organisational problems that have bedevilled proper access to public hospital care for decades, and which have worsened as a result of the economic collapse of recent years.
To be fair to James Reilly, his establishment of a Special Delivery Unit to cut waiting lists and improve access to hospital care has had some success. During 2012, the SDU’s intervention did lead to some improvements in treatment waiting lists, particularly for long waiters.
By the end of 2012, the total number of three month plus waiters had reduced to 18,773, and among these, only 143 patients were waiting over nine months for treatment. The latter figure is now 3,715. The average waiting time for treatment is now three months, compared to 2.5 months last December.
History is repeating itself. Before they started to get out of control, in late 2009, Mary Harney, through the National Treatment Purchase Fund, had got waiting lists down to roughly the levels James Reilly achieved by late last year, before they inevitably rose again.
This waiting list roller coaster of recent years has a common theme running through it- diminishing healthcare resources and in particular, inadequate hospital and community resources to deal with pressure points in the system.
Can any Minister really keep a permanent lid on waiting lists in a health system that has had more than one fifth of its funding removed since 2008, and with more cuts to come in 2014 and in 2015?
Yes, James Reilly can argue that he has had some success with waiting lists and he will deal with the latest ‘slippage’ through a €18 million funding injection (which will probably get swallowed up pretty quickly).
But to date it appears that his actions have essentially been ‘fire brigade’ exercises that have yet to deal with systemic flaws in the system.
He says the recent waiting list rise was due to a longer ‘clinical winter’ and a higher than normal level of elderly emergency admissions. But if the system is being changed for the better, as we are told, shouldn’t it be able to cope with these surges?
If waiting lists are really being tackled, shouldn’t we be seeing a more or less permanent decline in numbers, and not have to be frequently going back to the waiting list drawing board simply because very ill emergency patients are turning up in hospitals and needing beds?
It is alarming to note that the Minister admitted this week that the recent pressure on beds caused by higher than usual admissions through EDs had to be be dealt with through reducing the number of planned procedures, thereby increasing waiting list numbers, which then have to be dealt with by yet another special initiative.
And the Minister certainly likes his initiatives.
James Reilly’s SDU has launched many of these with varying degrees of success. We have had the patchily successful treatment waiting list initiative referred to above.
We have had an ED trolley wait initiative, which has has reduced trolley numbers, although the figure are still quite high.
Also, figures from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation indicate that recently, the old trolley problem has simply turned into an overcrowded ward problem.
We have had two initiatives under James Reilly to reduce waiting times for colonoscopy and gastroscopy tests. Numbers waiting for these tests, often used to check for cancer, are on the rise again.
We have had a more recent initiative from the SDU to reduce outpatient waiting lists. With nearly 7,000 waiting over four years for a first outpatient appointment and 380,000 in total on these lists at the latest count, this particular initiative clearly has a long way to go.
And then we have the ‘hidden’ waiting lists that don’t normally get officially reported.
A recent Irish College of General Practitioners survey of 300 GPs showed that their private patients only had to wait an average of four days when they were referred to a private hospital for for an ultrasound test, whereas their public patients had to wait on average 14 weeks for this test at a public hospital.
If the GP college didn’t tell us this then we would never have heard about these shocking waiting lists. Up to date figures on average waiting times for GP referrals for hospital diagnostic tests are not published by the HSE or the Department of Health.
Another hidden waiting list is where even if patients get into the hospital system, they still have to wait. Diabetes patients in some hospitals sometimes have to wait two to three years for an outpatient check up, where they are already in the hospital system and have already seen a consultant for the first time.
Again, these statistics are not revealed publicly by the HSE or Department of Health.
James Reilly cannot be faulted for making an effort to improve public patient access to our health system.
Yet, through all the swings and roundabouts of fluctuating waiting list and trolley numbers, and the often reported hardship suffered by sick patients through poor access and poor facilities, and Ministerial promises that things are getting better, the underlying message seems to be that our health system still doesn’t work, despite all the ‘spin’.
The bottom line seems to be that despite some pockets of efficiency and indeed excellence in the service, our broke statelet simply does not have the resources at the moment to provide a uniform standard of quality care.
The hidden truth is that all that can be hoped for is to keep the current system ticking over and hope that not too many people come to too much harm.
Resources are often promised, but seldom delivered, to improve hospital services at crucial pressure points, or to fund community and primary care to a proper level take pressure off hospitals and keep patients out of hospital.
Until this key issue can be resolved, everything else we are told or retold by Minister Reilly and his junior ministers is essentially window dressing.
And as for universal healthcare by 2016 (to be run by insurance companies no less), dream on.
88% rise in treatment waiting lists
They’re Only the Little People
The following article was published in some Irish American newspapers on May the 8th. It is another another insight in to the standard of healthcare in Ireland under the leadership Minister James Reilly, with the support of the Irish Labour Party.It is well known fact worldwide, even in the third world that Ireland is one of the worst places to get sick. In this article April Drew an American certainly agrees from first hand experience.
Only the Little People
The following article was published in some Irish American newspapers on May the 8th. It is another another insight in to the standard of healthcare in Ireland under the leadership Minister James Reilly, with the support of the Irish Labour Party.It is well known fact worldwide, even in the third world that Ireland is one of the worst places to get sick. In this article April Drew and American certainly agrees from first hand experience.
“Since our return to Ireland last May life in Ireland has been good to our family. I’ve not complained about much. We have everything we want and we remain positive when friends in the U.S. ask us how we could live in an Ireland steeped in a recession because they certainly couldn’t.
We had nothing negative to say about our own experience and that’s the truth …until now that is.
It has finally happened. We came face to face (indirectly) with the Irish medical system, and yes, it’s as bad as they say it is. It’s an utter disgrace, and I’m here to tell you what we saw first-hand. It wasn’t pretty.
My husband John’s mother made a recent trip to the emergency room at the, about a ten-minute drive from her home. It turned out it wasn’t a serious issue but she needed tending to immediately.
She arrived at the reception area of the emergency department at 6:10 p.m. on a Wednesday evening. Like any emergency room at that time of the day it was manic.
Seats were full. Patients and their loved ones stood along corridors, sat on floors and paced back and forth in an effort not to go insane. Parents and children, people of pensionable age and many more middle aged folks all looked sickly and irritated.
A young lady who appeared to be in her late twenties told my mother-in-law she had been there three hours and still hadn’t been seen to by a nurse.
“You’re in for a long night,” Mary was told. She had no idea.
After a few minutes of standing, a young man with a gentle face took pity on Mary and gave her his seat. She sat patiently and waited her turn.
It was close to 10 p.m. before a nurse came to take her vitals and carry out some blood work. The nurse advised her yet again that it was going to be a long night.
Midnight struck, and by this stage everyone was tired, cranky and hungry. Mary was finally admitted into the emergency room, and what she saw before her was shocking.
Beds full with patients, some in a very sickly way, took over the floor space. It wasn’t designed for this. Getting to the nurse’s station inside the department felt like one was walking through an obstacle course.
There were beds all over the place. It was utter mayhem. When they ran out of beds, patients (depending on the severity of their medical problem) sat on plastic chairs propped up against walls throughout the department.
Mary was directed to a chair for the following four hours. By this stage she was extremely tired and a little weak. She watched as some unruly characters entered the emergency room with various ailments, some causing quite a stir.
In the end the only reason she got a bed (about 4:30 a.m.) in the emergency room was because she took a weakness and fainted.
At one point during the night she needed to use the bathroom. She was told there was a queue forming and it was best she went outside to the main hospital and used the public toilets. She barely had the energy to get off the bed.
We sat with Mary as she tried to close her eyes to get some sleep. I was disgusted by what I was seeing.
The nurses were running around trying to keep up with patients being admitted and others being discharged. At one point a young fella entered the emergency room via ambulance with what looked like a screwdriver stuck in his head. It wasn’t a pretty sight, and we didn’t ask what kind of altercation he was in before arriving to the hospital.
Not only were the doctors and nurses trying to do their job, but they had to deal with scantily clad girls fighting with each other. A mother sitting across from us attempted to shelter her two-year-old son from such carry on.
It was disgraceful and kind of intimidating too. It was hard to know what would happen next.
When dawn crept in it was made clear to Mary that she would be admitted to the hospital for further tests, but she was warned it would be a while before a bed became available upstairs. Mary worked in that same hospital for 26 years as a secretary and retired three years ago.
It didn’t matter though. There simply wasn’t a bed available for her. The hospital was as overrun as the emergency room.
As I sat with Mary early on the Friday morning I pulled out my laptop and began writing what I saw around me. In the emergency room there were approximately eight bays where patients were put when admitted. All eight bays were full.
There was another 15 or so patients sitting on chairs and 12 or so beds scattered across the moderately sized room. It was simply a case of wherever they could shove in a bed they did.
It was necessary because a lot of these patients weren’t able to sit or stand, but it made the job of the nurses, doctors and porters next to impossible. They zipped in and out between beds, administered medicine where needed and hooked others up to IVs.
My poor mother-in-law was shoved up against a wall near the emergency room entrance. One minute it was warm, too warm. The next minute a blast of cold blew through the corridor making patients shiver.
Behind Mary a little baby shared a chair with his mother. He squealed in pain. The nurses tried to appease him but it was difficult, both on the little boy and his mother.
Across the corridor we could hear a man coughing. It was a rough, dry cough. The owner clearly didn’t have the energy to lift his head.
He lay on a hospital bed, sheets strewn to the side. He was wearing a pair of jeans, an old looking shirt and had a hole in both his white socks. I’m not sure where his shoes were. He finally stopped coughing.
The sound of monumental pain echoed from the bed next to him. The sounds were ad hoc, but when they came from the small-framed woman propped up in a bed I felt for her. She was alone.
The nurses and doctors were just too busy to attend to her needs. She had been admitted but that’s as far as she got.
A sprightly looking woman had her leg propped up in a bed. She looked exhausted. Later on I spoke with her to discover she came to the hospital at 2 p.m. the previous day and was still waiting for a bed upstairs.
Beside her lay a man in his forties who had chest pains. His wife was worried. He wasn’t being kept in because scans showed nothing out of the ordinary.
He told me he was waiting three hours for discharge papers. He was lying in a bed that could have been used for someone else, but because the staff were so overrun they hadn’t time to release his bed.
Later that day we sat next to a lady in her nineties. She was frail. She didn’t have it in her to even speak.
After a few minutes of tossing and turning she called for a nurse. She looked in distress. No nurse could tend to her. She started vomiting.
John went to her bedside, propped her up and placed a jug underneath her chin so she would not choke while getting sick. The nurse came over, handed John a cardboard bowl and instructed him to hold it under the lady’s chin. He did as he was told.
I could see the woman was ever so embarrassed and very grateful at the same time. She was alone.
I stayed with Mary until lunchtime on the Friday. I left her in an exhausted state and not any closer to a bed in the hospital itself.
As I left the mayhem through the emergency room reception area there was another 40 or so people waiting to be seen to. It was unbelievable.
Mary finally got a bed in a ward upstairs at 5 p.m. on Friday. She was 23 hours in the emergency room.
We read about the state of our hospitals in the newspapers, we hear about it on the radio, we chat about it at dinner parties but to experience it, even indirectly, is a whole different story.
While living in New York we had our fair share of trips to the emergency room and the hospital. Each time we came away saying how wonderful the service was, even if it did cost us an arm and a leg (we didn’t have insurance).
The nurses and doctors were always so attentive, and although we may have waited two or three hours in an emergency room to be seen to or admitted, it was nothing like the craziness I experienced in Limerick last week.
I pray to God that I don’t have to bring either of my two children to the emergency room anytime soon.”
Ladies is your womb safe in his hands?
Given the recent record of the Irish health service the advice is stay away from anything that comes under the remit of Dr.James Reilly the Minister of Health. You have a better chance of survival with the grim reaper
Tips on enjoying “threesomes” paid for by Irish taxpayer, American donations.
All this just goes to prove that we still have a number of fun people in the Government. Well done James Reilly. I hope the scheme is a runaway success
Dublin: An Irish government-funded website, SpunOut.ie, aimed at teens or “young people” provides tips on how to enjoy “threesomes.” Seriously. The site is also backed by Atlantic Philanthropies, founded by Irish American billionaire Chuck Feeney.
I don’t know whether to laugh or cry? Don’t get me wrong. I’m steamed about this. I keep repeating to myself: how dare they? How dare they so deliberately undermine what my wife and I teach our children? And how dare it be done with our money?
Yet it’s just so outrageous that I find it almost amusing. I keep asking myself: is this the Ireland that the “men of 16” dreamed of? Is this what the Easter Proclamation was about? For what died the sons of Roisín, was it threesomes?
Of course when that little humor wears off I’m burning again.
SpunOut.ie purports to be “dedicated to helping you make informed decisions about things which may be happening in your life.” Well help on having “a fun and safe experience” in a thressome is the sort of help that my wife and I don’t want anyone giving our children.
I am confident that my wife and I have raised our children well, but this official sanctioning of decadence is a slap in our face. This is the government telling our children “pay no heed to what those people say.” Infuriating.
This kind of thing is a leftover from the Celtic Tiger days. Maybe they were so busy working all the hours God sent that they had no time for doing what parents of teenagers ought to do: fight the good fight, say ‘No’ often and mean it!, be resolute and pray that they come out all right on the other end. Maybe making money hand over fist or just keeping up with the Joneses took so much energy that they couldn’t fight the good fight.
Whatever the cause, there was a collective void where parents should have been. A void filled by ideas like those advocated at SpunOut.ie. The difference this time I feel like they’re mocking us parents for our weakness, having advanced to where they are advising our children on “threesomes.”
It’s galling. But the fact that it’s paid for with taxpayers’ money – OUR MONEY – makes it even worse.
The Irish government is funding SpunOut.ie through the Department of Health, a department that is under serious pressure due to the cutbacks in government spending. Or so we’re told.
Shock rise in hospital waiting lists
The number of patients waiting more than nine months for hospital treatment has skyrocketed over the past two months after falling substantially in 2012, new figures show.
Latest figures show that of 2,141 adult and child patients were waiting over nine months for a hospital procedure at the end of February, compared to only 109 patients in this category at the end of 2012.
Of these, 396 patients are waiting over 12 months for treatment, compared to only 37 at the end of last year, while 1,745 are waiting between nine and 12 months for treatment, compared to only 72 at the end of December.
The Department of Health told irishhealth.com that winter pressures in hospital emergency departments had led to the increase, but it expected the waiting lists to reduce again as winter pressure on hospitals eased.
The average waiting time for treatment for patients on waiting lists has increased from 2.1 to 2.7 months since December.
The total number on waiting lists in all time categories has increased from 51,708 to 53,400 over the past two months, according to new figures produced by the National Treatment Purchase Fund’s (NTPF) Patient Treatment Register.
The recent major rise in ‘long waiters’ on treatment lists follows a huge reduction in the number of patients waiting over nine months for treatment in 2012 as a result of an initiative by Health Minister James Reilly‘s Special Delivery Unit (SDU).
The NTPF figures show that the number of patients waiting over nine months for treatment dropped from 4,884 in February 2012 down to 109 in December. During that period, the average waiting time for treatment dropped from 3.1 to 2.1 months.
Minister Reilly and the HSE had pledged that no patient would be waiting over nine months for treatment by the end of 2012, and the current target is to reduce the maximum treatment waiting time to eight months this year.
The figures would indicate that Dr Reilly’s waiting list initiative is in danger of coming off the rails following the recent increase in waiting numbers and waiting times.
However, a Department of Health spokesperson said ‘significant bounceback’ in waiting times in the early months of this year was expected, as winter pressures in emergency departments had impacted on scheduled care waiting times.
“In the coming months, as winter pressures ease, the SDU will work towards re-balancing scheduled care both to maintain the improvements seen in 2012 and to achieve the new 2013 target that no adult should be waiting longer than eight months for treatment.”
The Department said the figure of 2,14 people waiting over nine months for treatment was the total number of adults and children waiting and patients waiting for routine endoscopes, each of which had different targets.
The figures show that around 97% of the 2,141 figure comprises adults waiting over nine months for treatment, with the remainder made up of children awaiting treatment and patients awaiting endoscopies.
The Mater currently has 5,011 patients on waiting lists for hospital treatment, of which 521 have been waiting longer than nine months for treatment, or 10% of total patients on waiting lists at the hospital.
The hospital with the next worst record for long waiters is Cork University Hospital, where 236 (just under 9%) of its 2,708 patients on waiting lists have been waiting over nine months for treatment.
The hospital with the largest number of patients on waiting lists is St James’s in Dublin, with 5,529. However, only 3.5% of these patients have been waiting over nine months for treatment.
Nearly 40% of patients on outpatient lists in one of the country’s main orthopaedic hospitals have been waiting over four years to be seen, new figures show.
Figures for the end of January from the Department of Health’s Patient Treatment Register (PTR) show that there are currently 10,347 public patients on outpatient waiting lists at at the Mid-Western Regional Orthopaedic Hospital in Croom, Limerick.
Of these, 4,109 have been waiting four years or more to see a consultant in an outpatient clinic in order to get assessed for treatment.
Croom Hospital has the highest figure in the country for the number waiting four years or more for an outpatient consultation.
The hospital with the second highest four-year plus waiting numbers for outpatients is the Mid-Western Regional Hospital, also in Limerick, which has 1,716 patients waiting over four years to see a consultant.
This is followed by Waterford Regional Hospital, which 1,086 patients with a four year plus outpatient waiting time.
Nationally, there are now 9,784 patients waiting over four years for an outpatient consultation in a public hospital.
A total of 8,989 patients nationally are currently waiting between three and four years for an outpatient consultation.
The total number of people on outpatient lists, according to the PTR figures for the end of January, is 386,643.
yesterday at 3:36 pm
We don’t know if Minister for Health James Reilly is claustrophobic but he was certainly tested on that score today.
As you can see, thanks to this tweet by journalist Sara Burke (@sburx), his predicament drew quite a crowd.
Various reports suggests that Reilly was trapped for between 10 and 20 minutes before emerging to officially launch the facility.
Rumours of sabotage from disgruntled public service workers are only the tip of the Twitter joke iceberg on this one.
Is he Irish Healthcare system in a state of terminal decline? What can Dr. James Reilly do about.
Both questions are easily answered – The system as we know it is in Terminal decline. As for Minister Reilly rising to the occasion to save our healthcare system the answer is of course no chance
What a laugh this report is given that the Minister would not even be capable of organizing a visit to a hospital
MINISTER FOR HEALTH James Reilly has given a personal pledge to “tackle the smoking problem” and called for combined measures to regulate tobacco products.
Speaking in Brussels in a meeting of the EU Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee, Reilly also called for comprehensive assistance to smokers who want to quit and media information campaigns.
The committee was discussing the proposal to revise the 2001 Tobacco Products Directive which focuses on smokeless tobacco products, packaging and labelling, ingredients or additives, cross-border distance sales and traceability and security issues. It also aims to harmonise the implementation of international obligations under the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).
Speaking about the proposal before the committee Commissioner Tonio Borg said tobacco “should look like tobacco and taste like tobacco as well, not like vanilla or other sweets”.
“These products are produced in this way to be attractive to the young. Let’s not forget that most people start smoking below the age of 25 and the majority when they are still minors,” he said. Several other MEPs echoed his call for flavoured tobacco products to be abolished.
However Danish MEP, Anna Rosbach, said that the committee should not forget that governments need the revenues generated by tobacco. “The fiscal impact is something we have to bear in mind”, she said. “Any smoker who stops is a good investment.”
Minister Reilly said that economically, it is a “no brainer”, because of the heavy costs that smoking imposes on health systems and on the economy, through absenteeism from work.
Italian MEP Oreste Rossi said he was worried that too many limits place upon people would result in an increase in the trade of illegal cigarettes. However Borg reassured the committee that security and tracking provisions were also proposed in the directive.