I WOULDN’T SAY there’s been a single week since I’ve started working about a year and a half ago in the hospital that I’ve only had to work 48 hours a week – as the 2004 EU Working Time Directive instructs.
It can be anything up to over 100 hours a week. There was a couple of hours where I was working over Christmas where I was on call three times a week and you’d have to work the next day post-call as well.
Generally you wouldn’t get any sleep, or you might get one or two hours. You could end up working anything up to 36 hours in a row.
Thirty-six hours would be a record. But once a week you’d generally have to work 32 hours in a row.
It’s a killer. Adrenaline tends to get you through the first 20 hours. You start to feel the burn at around 4am. You focus then on the ward for a few hours, you make your way through it, you’re generally okay that night, but then the next day is really exhausting.
Is this government committed to media diversity?
Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said the Cabinet will decide what course to follow on the abortion issue tomorrow and would proceed to act on the issue in the New Year.
Mr Kenny also said that there will not be a free vote on the issue.
He said he did not want to force through any measure but he did not want it to drag on interminably either.
TDs were debating the issue in the Dáil today.
Junior minister Kathleen Lynch said she believed the Government would opt for a mixture of both legislation and regulation on abortion.
Ms Lynch said when the Government does make its decision, it will not meet the expectation of the vast majority of Irish people.
She said all the Government can do is legislate and regulate in such a restrictive manner that there will be a future case that will demand our attention then.
Ms Fitzgerald said the illusion that there is no abortion in Ireland needs to be stopped.
She said this existed because our close neighbour is providing the service to 4,000 Irish women every year.
Fine Gael TD Eoghan Murphy said the Government had to act on the issue, and said it was not enough to say that someone had a right to travel.
Mr Murphy said that while he was against abortion, he was in favour of a free vote on the issue.
Labour TD Michael Conaghan said that he favours the availability of abortion in limited circumstances, but said he thinks “killing babies is wrong”.
He said that this was about women’s health and that when the mother’s life is at risk, we must choose on the side of the mother’s life.
Meanwhile, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health Anand Grover has said abortion should be an option for women where their health is affected and not only where the life of the mother is at risk.
Speaking to RTÉ News, Mr Grover said he is concerned about the health of women around the world, but in particular the health of women in Ireland following the death of Savita Halappanavar.
Ms Halappanavar, who was 17 weeks pregnant, died at University Hospital Galway following a miscarriage.
The rapporteur, who is currently in Ireland, said that what happened to her “would never happen in India”.
Elsewhere, In a statement this evening the Pro-Life campaign has warned Government that if legislation for the X case is introduced that it will lead to abortions ‘on demand’.
Dr Ruth Cullen said that “Claims that legislation for the X case is a compromise between pro-choice and pro-life sides is nothing more than a political ploy to make any legislation appear restrictive.”
She continued; “The reality is, however, that any legislation for the X case would blur the distinction between life saving medical interventions in pregnancy and induced abortion, the sole aim of which is to intentionally end the life of the baby.”
Separately, the Life Institute has slammed UN Rapporteur comments as “wholly offensive and inaccurate”.
Spokeswoman for Life Institute Niamh Uí Bhriain said that Mr Anand should withdraw his remarks.
She said the comments were a “grave insult to Ireland, to her people, and to the excellent maternal health care specialist who have made Ireland one of the safest places in the world for a mother to have a baby”.
She added that if the Minister for Health, James Reilly, “had any respect for our doctors he would demand that Mr Anand apologise for the his wholly offensive and inaccurate remarks.”
New figures showing that more than 75,000 hospital appointments have been cancelled over the past three years reveal the pressure on the health service from cutbacks and growing patient numbers.
The Health Service Executive says the cancellations are mainly due to closure of wards for cost-containment measures and a lack of capacity caused by emergency admissions.
At least 25,317 day-case and 50,433 inpatient appointments were cancelled in 2010, 2011 and the first 10 months of this year, the figures supplied by the HSE show. The total is, in fact, higher, since about 13 of the 40 hospitals do not supply figures regularly to the HSE.
Sinn Féin health spokesman Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said the figures reflected a system struggling with the demand-led emergency workload after staff budget cutbacks. “They simply fly in the face of Minister for Health James Reilly’s so-called reform agenda,” he said.
The Irish Patients’ Association expressed concern that the health of some could deteriorate before new appointments were fixed.
“The cancellation of appointments, especially at short notice, can cause huge disruption for patients,” spokesman Stephen McMahon said.
“In some cases, people will have had to make arrangements for the care of a family member and travel long distances to fulfil the appointment.”
He said that, separate from any cancellations, over 350,000 patients were on waiting lists for a first hospital appointment. The data for this year shows 6,311 day-case and 12,772 inpatient appointments were cancelled to the end of October. The figures also reveal huge variations in cancellations in different hospitals.
St James’s Hospital in Dublin accounts for almost one-third of the total, with 21,782 cancelled day-case and inpatient cancellations over the three-year period. The vast majority were for inpatients .
Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin, which treats sick children, accounted for 18,780 cancellations. In contrast, only 140 cancellations are recorded for Portiuncula Hospital in Ballinasloe, Co Galway.
Dr Reilly is due to unveil his plans shortly for a radical reorganisation of the health service through the grouping of hospitals in different regions.
However, critics claim the process will see smaller hospitals downgraded by grouping them with larger hospitals.
Publication of Dr Reilly’s proposals has been delayed until after Christmas.
More medical card cuts on the way
However, further as yet unspecified cuts to medical card entitlements for other age groups are also due to take place next year and are to be revealed in the HSE‘s forthcoming 2013 service plan.
The Department of Health old irishhealth.com are to be changes to the medical card means test next year, but so far no precise details of this have emerged. The Government had been under pressure from the Troika to tighten up on medical card eligibility.
Minister, Reilly, having promised on coming to office last year that he would abolish the 50 cent medical card prescription charge, has now trebled it to €1.50 per prescription item, subject to a monthly maximum charge of €19.50 per family. This increase has been ‘due to the current financial climate’.
Under the over 70s medical card changes, the Minister said 92% of over 70s will still have medical cards, while 5% will no longer have a full card but will qualify for a GP visit card, while the wealthiest 3% will have neither card, which is the same percentage as at present.
Dr Reilly said single over 70s earning €600 to €700 per week will lose their entitlement to a full medical card, while those earning over €700 per week already do not qualify for a card, following the last review of eligibility in 2009. The new thresholds are double for elderly couples.
Elderly people who will be downgraded to a GP visit card will now have to pay drug costs up to €144 per month, following a new rise in the drug payment scheme threshold.
GPs and other professionals providing services under the medical card and other State schemes are to have their fees cut further.
Dr Reilly told a press conference on the health measures in the Budget that €781 million will have to extracted from the health service in savings next year.
By the end of 2013, this will bring the amount cut from the health service in the previous four years to around €3.3 billion. The service is to get €13.626 billion for everyday expenditure next year.
According to the Department of Public Expenditure, this will be reduced to €13.420 billion in 2014, when further health cuts will be required.
However, Dr Reilly said the lesson over the past year had been that by reforming services, more had been done with fewer resources, with inpatient waiting lists and trolley numbers reduced. He admitted, however, that next year would pose great difficulties.
Dr Reilly stressed the need to promote a greater level of generic prescribing. He said there were some drugs that were of the same class that were one-third the price of the other drugs in that class.
There would be legislation and initiatives to promote more generic prescribing.
The bulk of the €781 million in savings will come from €323 million in primary care scheme savings – this includes the medical card scheme.
The projected savings of €323 million in primary care schemes will come from:
* A projected €120 million from agreements with the pharmaceutical industry on drug cost cuts.
* A projected €70m from reductions in fees to primary care health professionals.
* €50m from the increase in prescription charges.
* €20m from changes to medical card means test.
* €12m from replacement of medical cards with GP visit cards for persons over 70 in excess of certain income limits.
* €10m from increasing the threshold in the Drugs Payment Scheme.
* €15m from ‘delisting’ certain products from the medical card scheme.
* €20m from promotion of more cost-effective prescribing practices by GPs and consultants.
* €5m from a reduction in reimbursement prices of oral nutritional supplements.
The remainder of the total €781 million in health service savings will come mainly from ‘pay related savings’, as yet unspecified; increased generation of private income from public hospitals – a measure that was promised for 2012; a net saving on the Department’s vote, and savings in procurement.
Dr Reilly declined to be drawn specifically on what pay savings in health might arise from an extension to the Croke Park Agreement. However, areas such as rostering were being looked at.
Asked what level of cuts in their allocation hospitals might face next year, Minister Reilly said there would be details of hospital allocations in the HSE’s service plan when published.
Minister of State at the Department of Health Alex White indicated that the €20 million planned to be spent on primary care staffing this year but which was reallocated to cover the HSE’s deficit would be spent next year. However, there is no specific provision for this expenditure in 2013 in the Book of Estimates.
Funding is to be allocated for the initial phase of the planned free GP care scheme for people with certain long-term conditions, Mr White said.
Minister of State Kathleen Lynch said a further €35 million would be spent on mental health services next year. She said all of the €35 million allocated for development of these services in 2012 was not spent.
[Posted: Wed 05/12/2012]
James Reilly at government buildings holding the expert group report on the need for new abortion legislation, which was published yesterday.
‘You didn’t really think I’d read it, did ye? Hahahahaha’
Looks like he puts away 100 Carrolls and a case of Powers a day.
But then one of the prerequisites for being Minister for Health is that you cannot run 10 yards without serious risk of a coronary?
The direct cost of treating people who are obese and overweight is almost €400 million annually, the report – to be launched by Minister for Health James Reilly – says. This is equivalent to the current overspend in Dr Reilly’s department. Indirect costs, in the form of illnesses, absenteeism and premature deaths, account for the remaining €700 million cost.
The report, commissioned by State-funded health promotion group Safefood, is critical of the fact that the taxpayer rather than the food industry pays these costs.
“The food sector is tightly regulated in terms of food safety, but not in terms of health,” said Ivan Perry of University College Cork, one of the principal authors of the study.
This is the first time researchers have put a price tag on the cost of obesity.
The report says the cost of dealing with obesity and weight issues in Northern Ireland is almost €500 million.
Dealing with the problem accounts for 2.8 per cent of total health spending, about the same as in many other developed economies, but short of the 5-6 per cent of health spending recorded in the US.
“When you look at today’s children, of whom one-quarter are obese or overweight, we’re projecting significant increases in rates over the next 20 to 30 years,” said Prof Perry.
He said the figures in the report were conservative, as they didn’t account for mental health costs and made conservative assumptions about the number of years of life lost due to weight-related problems.
In the light of the report findings, he said, it was clear there was much greater value for money to be had from infrastructural projects, such as the introduction of cycling routes or measures to promote walking, than had previously been thought.
Prof Perry said the report showed food choices weren’t just an issue between food producers and consumers, because the costs affected all taxpayers. “There’s a huge emphasis on personal choice in relation to what you eat, yet this report shows there are wider societal costs,” he said.
The report revisits the recommendations made by a previous government’s national taskforce on obesity, dating back to 2004.
The leader of Ireland’s parliamentary opposition, Mr Martin said he had been looking for information on the location of the 20 primary care centre sites for months, while it appears the Labour partnership in the Coalition Government was facilitating a cover-up. It would appear their partners in the so called media of the left such as Indymedia Ireland are also involved in censorship, to protect their former Stalinist comrade now private healthcare lobbyist, Gilmore.
Gilmore’s Criminal Private Healthcare Buddy
The leader of Ireland’s parliamentary opposition, Mr Martin said he had been looking for information on the location of the 20 primary care centre sites for months, while it appears the Labour partnership in the Coalition Government was facilitating a cover-up.
“It took us some months through the Freedom of Information act to get this very basic information, which I have been asking for in the Dáil for the last number of months, I asked the Tánaiste in the Dáil could he produce and would he publish this documentation immediately and of course they refused. The freedom of information request was delayed for a further month, which really illustrates complete contempt for the Dáil, a blatant lack of transparency and we now know why.”
As reported by The Irish Times of last Saturday, Swords and Balbriggan were added the day before the announcement of the chosen sites, while Ballaghaderreen and Kilkenny were put on the list, just hours before it was announced. Indymedia Ireland are also censoring material related to this cover-up, along with censoring material initially published but later removed, related to the murder in a Galway hospital, of a mother refused an abortion, to save her life. Indymedia Ireland are also involved in massive censorship of matters relating to Marian Price, with the removal of a family statement on the seriously deteriorating health of this political internee.
�Shortall who resigned from her post in the Labour coalition on principle, said at the weekend this revelation showed “blatant stroke politics” were behind the decision. Dr Reilly “started off by assisting some of his colleagues and looking after some of his colleagues, and then at the last minute slipping in another four, two of which were in his own constituency.This documentation gives the lie to the many convoluted excuses and justifications that Minister Reilly and his colleagues gave in the Dáil and elsewhere to claim that there was some other criteria used .. other than pure political patronage.”
In October Dr Reilly told the Dáil, that the rationale behind the decision on primary care centres chosen, were made from a list with a “logistical logarithmic progression”. Ms Shortall said the documents demonstrated this justification to be “codswallop”. Likewise the bullscutter on a abortion and the censorshit of Indymedia Ireland relative to Marian Price and Eamon Gilmore, has a distinct whiff of the old sticky, RTE, Brit censorshit contagion. They are a disgraceful example of the sell out of the Irish working class both in parliament and in the Irish media in the closed shop of passes for politics in the clearly unfree Irish state that is compromised to secret dark forces.
The orginal vote of no confindence was called after it was reported that a list of primary care centre sites was altered the evening before its launch to include four new centres, two of which were in Dr Reilly’s constituency. The two centres, located in Swords and Balbriggan, were added to the priority list despite them not being located in the top 30 locations drawn up by the HSE and then minister Róisín Shortall.
Meanwhile Reilly has the neck to insist this morning, that he stood by his actions. “I have made it very clear that I stand over what I did and if I had to do it all again I’d do what I did, there is very clearly a need for primary care centres in all of the locations mentioned.” Mr Martin said he had been trying to get this most basic of information on the location of the centres for several months. Provisional Sinn Féin made new calls or Dr Reilly’s resignation with party health spokesman Caoimhghin O Caolain saying Reily’s position was untenable following the revelations about the timing of the amendments to the primary care centre priority list. He said the plan needed to be revisited and revised in a publicly accountable way to ensure there was no bias involved in the allocation of the centres.”
Eamon Gilmore who has firmly supported Reilly, should also resign immediately, along with all of the agents involved in systematic media censorship in Ireland, of all articles related to the progressive resolution of problems stemming from ignorance in Ireland, as a result of persistent censorship in both the corporate and infiltrated media of Ireland.
Related Link: http://irishblog-irelandblog.blogspot.com/
Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore says he has full faith in Dr James Reilly
Related Link: http://podcastireland-irishblog.blogspot.com/
Two locations in Minister for Health James Reilly’s north Dublin constituency were added to a list of places chosen for primary care centres on the evening before they were announced by the Government, newly released documents reveal.
Further changes were made to the list including the addition of Ballaghaderreen, Co Roscommon, and Kilkenny just hours before the list of centres was announced as part of the Government’s stimulus package last July, the documents obtained under freedom of information show.
Last September, The Irish Times revealed that Swords and Balbriggan were added to the priority list announced by Dr Reilly as part of the stimulus package, despite the fact that they did not feature in a list of the top 30 locations drawn up by the HSE and his then minister of state, Róisín Shortall.
Swords, Balbriggan, Kilkenny and Ballaghaderreen all ranked outside the top 35 in the list of priority locations drawn up by Ms Shortall and HSE officials, which was weighted towards the most deprived areas of the country.
Swords ranked 130th in this list while Balbriggan ranked 44th. Ballaghaderreen, which was the subject of lobbying by two Government politicians, ranked 244th, while Kilkenny was ranked in 151st position.
The issue has proved hugely controversial for Dr Reilly and the Government ever since. Ms Shortall resigned in September and later described the addition of the two locations in north Dublin to her original list as “stroke politics”.
The documents reveal a flurry of last-minute changes in July after the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER) told the Department of Health for the first time that the locations would be published at the time of the stimulus announcement.
At that point, on July 16th, 33 locations were on the list. However, the Department of Health then drew up its “final list”. A memo sent to DPER at 8pm on that day – the day before the announcement – submitted a new list with Swords, Balbriggan and Oranmore added, and South Dublin removed.
The following day another memo from the Department of Health, marked “urgent – revisions”, stated that there were “changes to last night’s list”.
“There are now 36 locations. Ballaghaderreen is new . . . Kilkenny is new, Castlecomer is out, Oranmore is out,” the memo stated. It was sent at 11:55am, almost 1½ hours after that week’s Cabinet meeting started.
The documents do not show the rationale Dr Reilly employed in altering the original list, but the Minister has said he made his decisions based on a number of factors, including the likelihood of GP buy-in to the plans.
The official files also show that last month the secretary general of the Department of Health Ambrose McLoughlin asked its internal audit unit to “ascertain any connection that links the Minister and/or his four advisers in relation to the selection of the sites for the Balbriggan and Swords primary care centres”. This followed claims that a supporter of Dr Reilly owned the site of a proposed centre in Balbriggan.
Dr Reilly rejected any suggestion of impropriety in the selection of the site. He said this had nothing to do with him.
Fianna Fáil health spokesman Billy Kelleher said last night the new information posed serious questions for Dr Reilly and Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore. He said the Tánaiste told the Dáil there was documentation which could be sought under freedom of information on the background to Mr Reilly’s decision. Mr Kelleher said nowhere in documents released did this explanation exist. A spokesman for the Minister did not return calls last night.
THE top civil servant in the Department of Health launched a probe into his own minister, Dr James Reilly, in the wake of the controversy over the decision to locate two primary care centres in his constituency.
Ambrose McLoughlin, the department’s secretary general, ordered an investigation after revelations in the Irish Independent that a supporter of Dr Reilly owned the site of a proposed primary care centre in Balbriggan, Co Dublin.
The revelation that Mr McLoughlin moved to investigate his own minister will heap further pressure on Dr Reilly, who has faced criticism over his handling of the Savita Halappanavar tragedy and HSE overspending.
Informed sources said it was Mr McLoughlin’s “sole decision” to launch the probe and Dr Reilly was aware it had been launched.
The move by Mr McLoughlin to initiate an investigation into the matter came as Mr Reilly was facing intense scrutiny over the controversial decision.
Crucial information including repeated requests for a termination were not recorded in Savita Halappanavar’s medical records, her husband’s solicitor claimed yesterday.
Gerard O’Donnell, representing Praveen Halappanavar, said the notes covering her care on Monday, October 22nd, when it is alleged she made her first request for a termination, were “particularly scant”.
“It’s almost as if a whole day is missing from the notes,” he said last night. He said while there were records kept of her having cups of tea or of her husband asking for extra blankets for her, there was none on the requested termination.
Ms Halappanavar died at the hospital on October 28th, having presented with severe backpain a week earlier. She had been 17-weeks pregnant and had been found to be miscarrying. Mr Halappanavar says she asked repeatedly, between Monday 21st and Wednesday 23rd, that the pregnancy be terminated. This was refused, he says, as a foetal heartbeat was present and he claims they were told: “This is a Catholic country.”
She contracted E-coli and septicaemia and died four days after the foetus.
“There is no reference in the notes to the fact a termination was requested,” said Mr O’Donnell. “It is extremely fortunate that there were other people in the room when one of the requests was made, on the Tuesday morning, to witness the request and the reference to Ireland being a Catholic country.”
Mr Halappanavar has said the first request was made on Monday 22nd and that the consultant said she would have to check if this was permissible.
Mr Halappanavar has told The Irish Times the consultant returned on Tuesday morning.
He said she told them a termination was not possible as long as the foetal heartbeat remained, and made the “Catholic country” reference.
Also in the room, he has said, were a family friend, two junior doctors and a midwife.
Mr O’Donnell said he wrote to Galway University Hospital on November 2nd asking for copies of Ms Halappanavar’s medical notes and received them on November 16th.
Minister for Health James Reilly was asked about the claims of gaps in the health records in Sligo last night. He said: “Obviously this is of concern and this is a substantive matter for the investigation”.
HSE director general designate Tony O’Brien said information that Mr Halappanavar had that would “speak to any inconsistencies between what’s in the record and his personal knowledge would be of great value to the review team”.
A HSE spokeswoman said: “The investigation team has commenced its work and, as such, it would not be appropriate at this juncture to attempt to address matters which come within its remit. The investigation now under way will be important in terms of determining the completeness of information regarding the care provided to Ms Halappanavar.”
Meanwhile, advocacy group Patient Focus said its representative on the HSE inquiry team would walk away from any investigation which was not about getting to the bottom of what happened.