National Programme for Eye Care and the National Vision Coalition

[Speaking in the Seanad during Fine Gael’s Private Members’ Time Motion on eye-care/blindness] Link to full text of this Fine Gael Motion: I warmly welcome the Minister [new Health Minister, Varadkar] to the House. He has been one of the stand-out performers of the current Government. His intervention in an unrelated issue, with respect … Continue reading

The passing of Mr. Dermot Clarke

I inform the House of the sad death this morning, in his 91st year, of Mr. Dermot Clarke who for many years was director of operations in Aer Lingus, in which job he toiled dutifully for a long time. His curriculum vitae began at a much younger age. When he was a young man and … Continue reading

Conflicts of interest in the new health insurance market forum and the Magdalene laundries

It has just been announced that 2,000 people are waiting for hospice services due to an appalling lack of hospice beds and I must say that puts everything else we will say today into perspective. I would like two issues of conflict of interest addressed. One is a specific query for the Leader to address … Continue reading

Private health insurers’ possible cartel-like activity

I hate to sound like a broken record because I raised this issue yesterday, but additional information has come to my attention which urgently needs to be brought to the Minister’s attention. An approved licensed drug, Ipilimumab, is the first to benefit substantial numbers of patients with a relatively uncommon cancer, malignant melanoma. It is, … Continue reading

Melanoma patients: unequal cover from health insurers and long waiting lists for dermatologists

I have an urgent request for the Leader to bring to the attention of the Minister for Health something that has been bubbling under the radar for several weeks, the uneven access to cancer treatments for patients with private health insurance, depending on which company they are with. This causes spin-off problems for the public … Continue reading

Availability of Cancer Drugs

I seek clarification from the Minister for Health on …. whether there has been a change in the process for deciding what anti-cancer drugs will be made available through the health service. Good research shows that countries which underspend on cancer drugs have inferior cancer outcomes. A famous study carried out by the Karolinska Institute … Continue reading

Closure of Roscommon Hospital; Whitfield Clinic in receivership; and Tallaght A&E

I wish to pose a few health-related questions and raise a number of points which I hope the Leader will bring to the attention of the Minister for Health. The first of these relates to the thorny issue of Roscommon hospital. I apologise for sounding like a broken record in respect of this subject. However, … Continue reading

HIQA data and closure of Roscommon Hospital

I did not have an opportunity to consult HIQA on the mortality figures in local hospitals, but the closure of services in Roscommon is a critical issue. I am not an instinctive “save our hospital” type of person because calm, rational and systematic decisions need to be made about the configuration of hospital services. However, … Continue reading

A year of despair, where pleas for solutions fell on deaf ears

Published in the Sunday Independent on 30th December, 2007 John Crown reflects on what has been a disastrous 12 months for our health service The year 2007 was truly an annus horribilis in the Irish health service. Bad news abounded. The nostalgic may hanker after the carefree innocent days of spring when, according to the … Continue reading

Stench of medical politics about cancer care plans

Published in the Irish Independent on 3rd December, 2007 Following the recent cancer misdiagnosis tragedies, there has been a welcome resurgence of debate concerning cancer care in Ireland, care which all too often falls below accepted international standards. While we hope that this discourse will lead to Ireland developing a world-leading cancer service, the historical … Continue reading