National maternity services in Ireland – Health Committee hearing

14-05 John speaking 3

I thank Dr. Fitzpatrick. That was a fantastic, passionate presentation. I have seldom been as impressed by or as proud of a professional colleague sitting in that chair as I am of him right now, calling it as it is. However, I am not overly confident that all the things he has said will actually … Continue reading

Unprecedented Meltdown in the Health Service

[Speaking in the Seanad during Order of Business] I know that I am beginning to sound like a broken record and that the attention of many in the Oireachtas has been distracted by other events which will take place in the first quarter of 2016. However, we cannot lose sight of the fact that there … Continue reading

Inefficiency is name of the game for HSE and troika


It is absurd to think that a focus on consultants will fix ills of the health system. Our health service provides a near perfect metaphor for all that is wrong in public administration in our Republic, and makes the case far more eloquently and practically than any mere polemicist could for radical and far-reaching reform … Continue reading

Health Service Executive (Governance) Bill

I was asked in public last week whether I would have voted to express confidence in the Minister last weekend had I had the opportunity to do so; I state unambiguously that I would have done so. The Minister inherited a very difficult job in very difficult circumstances. He set his face into the wind … Continue reading

Speaking on the Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training) Bill

Having worked on the fringe and, in recent years, directly in the academic medical and academic scientific sectors for the past 19 years, I have a certain perspective on this matter. It is that we have not supported the sector well and that any deficiencies that exist within the sector cry out for reform of … Continue reading

Shortages in the Health System

Will the Leader seek clarification from the Minister for Health regarding his exact plans for increasing the number of specialists, beds and operating theatres? At the risk of sounding trite, there is a wonderful line in “Jurassic Park” from the scientist who correctly predicted that it might be unwise to make dinosaurs. When they saw … Continue reading

Patient Waiting Lists

…. the Greeks raised an army of 300 men who stood shoulder to shoulder at Thermopylae and defeated 20,000 Persian intruders. This is relevant to our current situation and I am not referring to any unpleasantness with Iran or anywhere else — I am referring to the health service. It emerged in the newspapers today … Continue reading

The Real Culture War in Healthcare

Culture War in Healthcare

Sunday Independent – 4th Feb 2007 The resumption of stalled contract negotiations between the Irish Hospital Consultants Association and the Health Service Executive is to be welcomed. There is uniform agreement that our ailing health service is in urgent need of increased resourcing, including a substantial increase in the ludicrously low numbers of specialists in … Continue reading

When will they ever realise the problem is lack of specialists?

We should be shamed by our dependence on junior doctors, but it’s the natural fallout of a ruinous bureaucracy. Eighteen years of frustration with the bureaucracy that has ruined our health system finally bubbled over this week. The precipitating event was the debate on the Medical Practitioners Act, a piece of “emergency” legislation that was … Continue reading