Analysis > Fergal Bowers

Calm before the storm?

Simon Harris has had a relatively calm start so far during his period in the health portfolio. But at just over 100 days in the role, it’s still relatively early days and there has been no major crisis yet on his desk. His main commitment has been to reinvest in health and his ability to secure an extra €500m to deal with the HSE projected overrun, as well as other developments, was welcomed. But it remains unclear how much extra …

The price of medicines

For some people, how the price of medicines is reached may seem like the Third Secret of Fatima. There are many players – who all take their share – from the drug company that makes the medicine and supplies it to the wholesaler, the wholesaler who sells it to the pharmacist, the pharmacist that applies a mark-up and dispensing fee and the State that charges a prescription fee and requires private patients to pay the first 144 euro a month, …

Navigating the complaints system in the health service

A new investigation from the Office of the Ombudsman provides a valuable insight into how the HSE and public voluntary hospitals fare when dealing with complaints from patients, or their family members. It’s timely given recent events at some hospitals, where patients’ concerns were not listened to, with tragic consequences. The Ombudsman, Peter Tyndall, has expressed surprise at the large number of people who are afraid to complain about their healthcare. He says this is often due to concerns that …

Rising Waiting Lists

By Fergal Bowers, Health Correspondent Recently the Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar, set out his health priorities for this year. Notably, the commitments on waiting lists are much watered-down, compared to what his predecessor Dr James Reilly had promised.

A prescription for change?

In July, Leo Varadkar was appointed as Minister for Health and spent much of the time since reading into the weighty portfolio. But he has not been quiet and keeping in character, landed himself in hot water recently over some Budget remarks, which irked the Taoiseach.

Coping with Loss

        The death of the much-loved actor Robin Williams by apparent suicide will be a source a great sadness to many in Ireland and around the world. It may also affect those currently suffering from depression here, people just trying to cope and those in recovery from related illnesses.

Leo Varadkar’s medicine

 By RTÉ Health Correspondent Fergal Bowers When Minister Leo Varadkar heads off to walk the Camino in Spain next month, he will have time to ponder the challenges he faces in the new health portfolio over the coming 18 months or so, before the next General Election. He may be taking the St James’s trail in this revered pilgrimage route, but it is clear that his approach to his new task will not be the way of James Reilly.

Staffing issues to dominate INMO conference

Kilkenny is the location for the three-day annual delegate conference of the Irish Nurses and Midwives’ Organisation this week. It’s the INMO’s 95th conference. The union has over 40,000 members and around 360 delegates will be at this meeting, representing union members around the country. 

Free under-six care set to dominate IMO conference

Doctors gather in conference this week to debate the bitter row with Government over free GP care for children under six, delays filling consultant posts and the impact of successive cuts to the health budget. The Irish Medical Organisation also marks its 30th anniversary at the annual conference in Carton House in Kildare. Last week the Government approved the publication of the proposed legislation for free GP care for children under six years, which it wants in place by the …