Free GP care for Under 6s

[Speaking in the Seanad at the end of Final Stage of the Health (General Practitioner Service) Bill] I welcome the Bill, notwithstanding the genuine concerns which prompted me to bring forward the series of amendments we have discussed. It is important to consider the context in which these provisions are being introduced. As we know, … Continue reading

Health Service Executive (Financial Matters) Bill

[Speaking in the Seanad during Second Stage of the Health Service Executive (Financial Matters) Bill 2013] This is obviously an important way-station in the process of health care reform and, as such, I support it. We were in a situation whereby a largely unanswerable bureaucracy had been given the outsourced job of operations management of … Continue reading

Health Identifiers Bill

[Speaking in the Seanad during Second Stage of the Health Identifiers Bill 2013] I am broadly in support of the idea of enhanced patient identification as a means of improving safety. There is no doubt that when one has as internally discordant set of health services as we have in this country that it is … Continue reading

We must dream to escape nightmare; Statistics show that our beleaguered health system is the sick man of Europe


As published in The Sunday Independent on 27th October 2013 FRIENDS I have a dream today. I have a dream of an Irish health service where every woman, every man and every child could see the same doctor in the same hospital or clinic following the same reasonable wait if they have the same illness, … Continue reading

Health (Amendment) Bill 2013

I welcome the Minister of State back to the House. When many of the minor health care reforms such as this, which are coming through the system in preparation hopefully for the big bang of the move to a fully insurance-based system, come up I find myself selectively approving of them through gritted teeth because … Continue reading

Generic drugs, pharmaceuticals, reform of the health service.

[Speaking on the Health (Alteration of Criteria for Eligibility) Bill 2013] … I speak from the perspective of having worked in the health service. The issue of drugs is deadly simple. The Government should pass a law to make it mandatory to use generic drugs unless there is a specific doctor-ordered exception to the rule, … Continue reading

Discard party politics for sake of our health

Published in the Sunday Independent on 4th January, 2009 Fine Gael did the country a service last week when they promised to implement a version of the Dutch health care system, one of the world’s best, within four years of assuming government. Taken in the context of the usual ground-shifting, waffley, and interchangeable aphorisms that … Continue reading

Health bureaucrats are architects of a new brand of ‘apartheid’

Published in the Sunday Independent on 17th August, 2008 Under recent plans, private patients are whites and public patients ‘Kaffirs’. The most chilling, the most horrifying movie that I ever saw was a docudrama set entirely in a boardroom. There was no blood, no gore, no decapitations, in fact no shocks at all. Rather, there … Continue reading

The excellent health service in the Holy Land wasn’t a miracle

Published in the Sunday Independent on 6th July, 2008 Why is it Israel has one of the world’s best medical care systems with the problems it faces. Whether the recession is wholly due to external forces like the credit crunch and rising fuel prices, or has been contributed to in some way by a reckless … Continue reading