Friday, 15 November 2013

Universal health insurance

Adam DM Briggs writes in the Joural "Health Policy" recently about "How changes to Irish healthcare financing are affecting universal health coverage" an interesting article on this topic. 

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Lenus Irish Health Repository included into RIAN web-based Open Access portal

HSE Press Release
23rd October 2013
Lenus Irish Health Repository included into RIAN web-based Open Access portal

It has been announced that LENUS has been included as a participating repository in RIAN, the national open access portal which collates the research output of ten higher education repositories in Ireland. 
Since its establishment by the HSE’s Regional Library and Information Service in 2009, Lenus has championed and promoted the dissemination of health service research and its availability in RIAN is a major development in Irish open access publishing.

RIAN is a web-based Open Access portal that harvests and displays the content of the repositories of the seven universities and the DIT in Ireland.  Commenting on the inclusion of LENUS in this portal , Bennery Rickard, HSE’s Regional Library and Information Service commented that  Ireland was now at the forefront of the Open Access movement . “RIAN is among the first wave of national open access portals in the world and it is very exciting that LENUS has been included.”  The portal will demonstrate the impact of research to potential investors and funders, who recognise the value of wider research dissemination.
This is a very welcome development and a great achievement as Lenus is one of the first non university repositories to be included in the RIAN Portal.   It raises the profile of researchers working in the health services and puts health service research into a national context with the academic and scientific research being carried out by third level institutions, while allowing research funders to accurately gauge the results and impact of their funding.

It also provides a Europe-wide platform for Irish health service research, through the forthcoming inclusion of RIAN in the EU’s OpenAIRE portal and boosts the profile of the HSE’s research programme and the reputations of its researchers.

LENUS is Ireland’s most comprehensive online repository of health-related reports, research and official publications. Spanning a period from the 1960s to the present day, LENUS makes available a wealth of material from former Irish health boards, the Health Service Executive, the Department of Health and Children and many other organisations active in the field of Irish health.

Issued by:
National Press Office
Dr. Steeven’s Hospital
Dublin 8

Tel: 01 635 2840

Notes to Editors:

RIAN is the outcome of a sectoral higher education project supported by the Irish Government's 'Strategic Innovation Fund'. Project planning was carried out by the seven Irish university libraries, DCU, NUIG, NUIM, TCD, UCC, UCD, UL and was supported by the Irish Universities Association (IUA).

The project aim is to harvest to one portal the contents of the Institutional Repositories of the seven university libraries, in order to make Irish research material more freely accessible, and to increase the research profiles of individual researchers and their institutions. It is intended to extend the harvest to other Irish research institutions as RIAN develops.

The aggregation of this content will have significant benefits. It will be the primary source for Irish Open Access research publications.  Jointly agreed metadata standards will facilitate more accurate searching and retrieval. The aggregated content will make further value-added features, such as  statistical analysis, possible.  RIAN will allow other agencies, for example DRIVER, to harvest normalised metadata for better search results.

People working in the health sector who benefit from Open Access initiatives include: health professionals, public health doctors, managers, policy makers, researchers, and information workers from organisations such as the Health Service Executive; Department of Health; Voluntary health sector, Irish health agencies, academic health sector.

For more information see ; ;

Friday, 11 October 2013

RCSI MiniMed Series Open to Public

The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland have announced the latest MiniMed series of free health lectures to explore topical health issues- for more details visit /#RCSIMiniMed

Friday, 20 September 2013

Discover Research Dublin 27 Sept

Discover Research Dublin team is a diverse group of people from Trinity College Dublin and the Royal Irish Academy who are passionate about communicating research to the public. They are organising a Research night in Dublin on 27th September 2013.  Check out their blog for more information.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Call for submissions for HSCP Conference Feb 2014

Health & Social Care Professions Education & Development Advisory Group welcome submissions from any HSCP professional on their research.
Following the sucess of the inaugral one-day conference last year, this year's conference is entitled:

‘Driving healthcare change through HSCP research– An opportunity for HSCPs to share their research’. 

The two keynote speakers for the conference will be Dr. Stephanie O’ Keeffe, Director of Health & Wellbeing, HSE, and Dr. Philip Crowley, National Director, Quality & Patient Safety, HSE.

Submissions are encouraged in 3 formats by email:

1) Oral Presentations (e.g., 20 minute)
-Please submit a 200 word abstract using: ‘Objective’, ‘Method’, ‘Results’, ‘Conlcusions’.

2) Poster Presentations
Please submit a 200 word abstract using: ‘Objective’, ‘Method’, ‘Results’, ‘Conlcusions’.

3) Research Methodology Workshops (e.g., 60 minutes)
Please submit a 200 word description of the research methodology element that your workshop will focus on (e.g. how to apply for research funding, how to analyse data).

Friday, 28th February 2014
Stewarts Care,
Palmerstown, Dublin 20
Attendance is free.
Submissions* by:
Friday, 25th October 2013

Please email submissions to: Frances Conneely,  HSCP EDA, Research Subgroup
For further information, see the ‘Practice Development Hub’ section on the homepage of:

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Clinicians ‘need more access to research’ Irish Times tue 27th August 2013

Dr. Sinead Hanafin at the International Public Health Nursing Conference in Galway yesterday commented on the excllent HSE Library in the context of her presentation on" Public Health Nursing Making The Difference Through a Better Use of Research".

Clinicians ‘need more access to research’ Science failing to communicate

Dr Hanafin, who is a nurse, midwife and formerly head of research at the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, said that evidence-based information has to be made more accessible and readable, with summaries of key points included for practitioners and policy-makers.
She said that the Health Service Executive library was excellent, but physical access was a difficulty for staff under pressure. There was a need for capacity building, providing broadband communication and giving relevant trained staff time to download and read relevant material.”

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Growing up in Ireland data workshop ESRI

The ESRI are hosting a data workshop to promote the use of infant cohort datasets on 9th August 2013.
For more details please visit

Thursday, 27 June 2013

HRB Medical Education Research Grant 2013 - Call Open

The Health Research Board (HRB)
Medical Education Research Grant 2013

The award is designed to both address policy needs and foster research capacity in the sector in Ireland so as to support quality development in medical education and training delivery for the benefit of the public, the health services and the medical Profession.
A single award will be made in 2013. The award will be up to a maximum total award value of €150,000 (inclusive of overheads) for a project of a minimum of 12 and a maximum of 24 months in duration.

WHO should apply?
The Medical Education Research Grant is open to Principal Investigators (PIs) from the Republic of Ireland, and is expected to be of particular interest to bodies already involved in the delivery of medical education and training in the Republic of Ireland (most notably bodies approved by the Medical Council under Part 10 of the Medical Practitioners Act for the purposes of education and training).
Applicants must demonstrate clearly that their research team contains the necessary breadth and depth of expertise in all the methodological areas required in the development and delivery of the proposed project.

The deadline for submission of complete applications is Monday, 16 September 2013 at 13.00.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Research Data Alliance to be held in Dublin March 2014

Australia, in close partnership with Ireland, will host the Third Plenary for the Research Data Alliance in Dublin, Ireland on March 26 to 28, 2014. The purpose of the Research Data Alliance is to accelerate international data-driven innovation and discovery by facilitating research data sharing and exchange, use and re-use, standards harmonization, and discoverability.
 The Third Plenary will build on the very successful First Plenary in March 2013 (led by RDA-Europe), and the firm planning underway for the Second Plenary in Washington DC in September 2013 (led by RDA-US).
 The Organising Committee for the Third Plenary consists of Dr Sandra Collins (Director, Digital Repository of Ireland), Professor Stefan Decker (INSIGHT: Ireland's National Data Analytics Research Centre), Dr Leif Laaksonen (RDA-Europe Project Director), Professor Alan Smeaton (INSIGHT: Ireland's National Data Analytics Research Centre) and Dr Andrew Treloar (Director of Technology, Australian National Data Service and Organising Committee Chair).
 The Research Data Alliance Council welcomes the continued momentum of the RDA Plenary event series and supports the Third Plenary organising group in its endeavours to date and forward into March 2014.
 For further information about the Research Data Alliance, please either visit or email .

Friday, 7 June 2013

Community Mothers Programme Empowerment of Parents by Parents

Brenda Molloy Director of the Community Mothers Programme talks to Aoife Lawton, HSE Librarian about the Community Mothers Programme.

AL: Brenda, how did the Community Mothers Programme start and what are its objectives?
BM:  The Community Mothers Programme (CMP) began in Dublin in the 1980's. The Programme involves trained experienced volunteer mothers from the community to visit first-time mothers of children aged birth to 12 months in their own homes. Its aim is to develop the skills of parents of young children thereby enhancing parent's confidence and self-esteem.
AL: What is the focus of the Programme?

BM: The Community Mothers, as they are known, focus on healthcare, nutrition and overall child development. The objective is the development of the child both physically and mentally through the empowerment of the mother. Community Mothers are trained and supported by specially trained Public Health Nurses known as Family Development Nurses.
Photo of parent and child from the Programme
Photo of Parent and Child from the programme

AL: How many people are involved?

In 2012 the home- visiting Programme was delivered by 127 Community Mothers to1136 families.

AL: How is the programme evaluated?
BM: The Programme has been rigorously evaluated using a randomised controlled approach and there is sound evidence that it has a beneficial effect on parenting skills and maternal self-esteem that is sustained over time and which is carried through to subsequent children.
The Programme is an integral part of the Health Service Executive and is a popular form of what could be called civic action.
In recent months the published evaluation of the Community Mothers Programme was reviewed according to carefully devised evidence criteria by Rand Europe, an independent, not-for-profit research organisation. As a result of this review the Programme was included in the evidence-based Family Practices section of the European Platform for Investing in Children (EPIC) website. EPIC is managed by the European Commission and aims to provide information about policies, practices and programmes that can help families and their children with the challenges that exist in the current economic climate in Europe. 

AL: Thank-you Brenda, for your insight.  The recent review is a big achievement, we will be watching this space for future developments.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Irish Hospital Mortality Index (IHMI) to be implemented - Under the new system, patient outcomes will be assessed based on the condition they were treated for, and the expected number of deaths for each hospital for each condition according to set norms will be compared to the actual number of deaths recorded.
The specific purpose of comparative hospital mortality patterns is to enable hospitals to use the data generated to prioritise areas for review and potential improvements so that the best outcomes are achieved.
The HSE intends that this data will be made publicly available once the system has been fully developed and its accuracy assured, allowing a period of time for the HSE to work with hospitals to ensure accuracy of data generated.  In order to arrive at accurate comparative mortality rates between institutions, confounding factors that might explain variations in death rates would first be taken into account.
These would include age of patients, medical card status, patient numbers, and whether patients had other conditions along with the condition being treated.
Meanwhile, a separate national audit of mortality following surgical procedures is expected to get underway by the end of this year.  The Irish Audit of Surgical Mortality will involve surgeons reviewing the outcomes of procedures undertaken by their colleagues.
It is not planned at this stage to make any data on hospitals' surgery performance publicly available under the surgery audit. The audit will, however, be able to identify poor performance among individual surgeons or units so that remedial or regulatory action can be taken where necessary.
The surgery audit is being run by the National Office of Clinical Audit at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, in cooperation with the HSE.
Social Workers Register with CORU  (CORU is Ireland’s first multi profession health regulator) - Last Friday over 2,300 of the State’s 2,500 Social workers registered with CORU the body designated with the regulation of health and social care professions.  The new arrangements for Social Workers are the first step towards regulating 12 professions along the lines of similar systems in place for medicine and nursing.  Professions covered by the Health and Social Care Professionals Act 2005 include; Clinical Biochemists, Dieticians, Medical Scientists, Occupational Therapists, Orothoptists, Physiotherapists, Podiatrists, Psychologists and Speech and Language Therapists. 

Stress Levels – The parents of children with autism have higher stress levels than parents of children without autism, or children who have other disabilities. That is according to preliminary data from a study by NUI Galway’s Irish Centre for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Research (ICAN).
The research indicates cutbacks in services are having a real and measurable effect on parents’ wellbeing, as well as highlighting stress levels among parents of children with autism. The study shows that levels of stress among parents of children with autism are higher when those families have less access to services. Dr Geraldine Leader, Director of ICAN at NUI Galway, explained: “Our research is highlighting the negative impacts that cutbacks and inadequate service provision may have, not only on child outcomes, but also on the health and wellbeing of the parents.”
Oireachtas Update 4th June 2013
The sub-Committee on Public Expenditure and Reform will meet on Wednesday and Thursday of this week to discuss the Houses of the Oireachtas (Inquires, Privileges and Procedures) Bill 2013.  Dáil Éireann is adjourned until 2 pm on Tuesday June 11 2013. The Seanad is adjourned sine die.

Public Service Management (Recruitment and Appointments)
(Amendment) Bill 2013 published
The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform has published the Public Service Management (Recruitment and Appointments) (Amendment) Bill 2013.  The Bill will enable an employee of a public service body to be redeployed to a comparable post in another public service body following designation by the Public Appointments Service (PAS).  The PAS will identify the most appropriate placement taking account of the competencies, qualifications, grade, pay, etc. of the person and the requirements of the post on offer.

Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement publishes annual
report 2012
The Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) has published its Annual Report for 2012. The Report shows that during 2012, the ODCE submitted further investigation files to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) concerning alleged offences under both section 60 of the Companies Act 1963 and section 197 of the Companies Act 1990. These offences were related to certain events at the former Anglo Irish Bank on the basis of which the DPP directed that a total of 60 charges be preferred against a number of individuals.  These issues subsequently moved to the courts and the Office worked to support the DPP in discharging its disclosure obligations to those persons against whom legal proceedings are pending. This work, according to Ian Drennan, Director of Public Prosecutions, is “likely to be a significant and continuing feature of the Office’s work for some time to come.”

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Dates for your diary

Autism Conference highlighting practical solution for parents with emphasis on the latest evidence based approach to diagnosis, management and services for adults.
The Irish Centre for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Research
National University of Ireland, Galway is a service dedicated to taking the mystery out of mental health and to help young people to get through tough times and is run by the Inspire Ireland Foundation. are calling all aspiring young film makers and or animators to make a film or animation that is under two minutes long demonstrating ways to get through a tough time in one's life.  The project is called “inspire a generation”.
Closing Date 8th July!
Oireachtas Update 27th May 2013
In the Dáil this week, the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Bill 2013 will be discussed at second and remaining stages. In the Seanad, there will be a discussion on EU - US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. MEP Paul Murphy will speak on the topic. The Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform will meet with Ms Josephine Feehily, Chairman of the Office of the Revenue Commissioners to discuss the ongoing property tax collection.

As a consequence of the European Court of Justice ruling, Ireland can no longer set a mandatory level below which cigarette prices cannot be lowered as this would be restricting the freedom of industry to make effective use of competitive advantage.  Therefore, the Public Health (Tobacco) (Amendment) Bill 2013 will be discussed in the Seanad – Second Stage on Wednesday 29th May 3pm - 4.30pm by Minister for Health spokesperson Senator Colm Burke.

Government approval for plain cigarette packaging In advance of No Tobacco Day on Friday 31st May, the Minister for Health James Reilly has announced that Ireland is to become the second country in the world to introduce plain packets of cigarettes, after AustraliaMinister Reilly said he was “confident that this legislation will be justified and supported purely by the fact that it will save lives”.  The plain packs will have no branding, such as trademarks, logos, colours and graphics.  A uniform typeface will be used for all brands and the packs be in one plain, neutral colour. 

Evidence suggests that standardised packaging will: Increase the effectiveness of health warnings; reduce false health beliefs about cigarettes; and reduce brand appeal particularly among youth and young adults.
The Irish Cancer Society and the Irish Heart Foundation have welcomed today’s Government announcement that Ireland will become one of the first countries in the world to ban branding from cigarette packaging.

Holles Street Hospital to be relocated to St. Vincent’s Hospital The relocation of Holles Street Hospital, which is housed in an outdated building and has suffered from severe pressure on its space for many years, was announced by Minister Reilly.  Co-location of maternity hospitals with adult acute services is the optimal solution for the provision of hospital-based maternity services, as it can provide access to the full range of medical and surgical specialties and clinical support services in sufficient volume and complexity to provide added value.  The new maternity hospital on the St Vincent's site will be designed to accommodate up to 10,000 births per annum. It will be located beside the main St Vincent's general hospital building.  A total of €150 million has been allocated for the relocation project,

Friday, 24 May 2013

Patient Safety Conference in Dublin Watch Live

The 3rd National Patient Safety Conference is taking place on Friday 24th May 2013 in the Croke Park Conference Centre, Dublin 3.

 Watch the livestream for free here:

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

The Irish Institute of Mental Health Nursing is pleased to announce its 4th Annual Symposium:
'Recovery and Mental Health in Ireland: The State of Play',
6 June 2013 in the Douglas Hyde Lecture Theatre, Main Building, Athlone Institute of Technology.

Health Film Festival the National Centre for Arts and Health at Tallaght Hospital and Rua Red will stage a special festival of health films titled “through the lens” aimed at health professionals, film makers, the public and service users interested in the perceptions of older age as represented oin film

Public Hearings on the Heads of Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill 2013:
THE OIREACHTAS COMMITTEE on Health and Children are currently in session for three days of public hearings on the government’s proposed new legislation on abortion, following its publication of the heads of the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill 2013.  The debate in relation to the Bill has crystallised around one issue, the threat to the mother’s life where there is a risk of suicide.  Leading psychiatrists at the Public Hearings have been voicing opposing views to the inclusion of the suicide clause to the Bill.  There was a deep divide in the stance of the 13 psychiatrists that reported to the committee yesterday.  Some acknowledged that although suicide is a very small risk it is a “real” risk, others see their role as merely assessing a woman’s eligibility for termination, while others are concerned about the “normalising suicidality” in legislation, a further group expressed that termination can never be a treatment for suicidality while others are concerned that psychiatrists might become “gatekeepers to abortion”.  Legal Hearings on the Heads of Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill 2013 are being held today:
Oireachtas Update 20 May 2013
In the Dáil this week, the Houses of the Oireachtas Inquiries (Privileges and Procedures) Bill 2013 will be discussed at second stage.  Statements will be made prior to the meetings of the European Council. EU leaders meet on May 22. this is in relation to competitiveness, job creation and growth.
In the Seanad this week, the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Bill 2012 will be discussed.  The Bill sets out proposals to allow the substitution of medicines by pharmacists at a patient’s request and to improve and update the statutory basis for the supply of medicines and other prescribed items under the General Medical Services, GMS, and community drugs schemes. It sets out a clear legislative basis for the supply and reimbursement of items to patients under the GMS and community drugs schemes. It also sets out criteria which the HSE must take into account when making reimbursement decisions. This Bill will allow the HSE to attach conditions to the supply of certain items, provided that any restrictions are evidence-based and in the interests of patients and ensuring value for money.  The safety of generic medicines underpins this Bill. Where generic medicines are being proposed they must meet exactly the same standards of quality and safety and have the same effect as the original medicine. All of the generic medicines on the Irish market are required to be properly licensed and meet the requirements of the IMB. To further enhance the safety aspect of generic substitution, section 13 gives a prescriber the option of indicating on a prescription that a branded interchangeable medicinal product should not be substituted, if there are clinical reasons not to do so.
It is important, in the current economic climate, to take every step possible to provide public services efficiently, to limit costs to the greatest extent possible and to involve users of resources in better understanding the value of those resources and their appropriate use.
The Committee on Health and Children will meet on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday of this week to discuss the Heads of Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill 2013.

Dáil; Thursday 23.05.13 Health Service Executive (Governance) Bill 2012 (Seanad) Order for Report, Report and Final Stages) (Department of Health) Houses of the Oireachtas Inquiries

Seanad; Tuesday 21.05.13
The Seanad Chamber is being used by the Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children which is holding on the General Scheme of the Protection of Life in Pregnancy Bill 2013
 Wednesday 22.05.13 Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Bill 2012 – Report Stage (Amendments from Dáil Éireann) Minister of State for Primary Care

Committee Meetings: Monday 20.05.13  Health and Children Public Hearings on the Heads of Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill 2013:
Session A: 9.30 am – 12 noon
Psychiatry and Perinatal Psychiatrists Dr Anne Jeffers, Consultant Psychiatrist, College of Psychiatrists of Ireland; Dr Maeve Doyle, Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, College of Psychiatrists of Ireland; Dr Joanne Fenton, Consultant Perinatal Psychiatrist; Dr Anthony McCarthy, Consultant Perinatal Psychiatrist; and Dr John Sheehan, Consultant Perinatal Psychiatrist
Session B: 12.15 – 2.45 pm
Psychiatry Dr Yolande Ferguson, Consultant Psychiatrist, Tallaght Hospital; Dr Peadar O’Grady, Consultant Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist; Prof Veronica O’Keane, Consultant Psychiatrist, Tallaght Hospital & TCD; and Dr Eamonn Moloney, Consultant Psychiatrist, Cork University Hospital
Session C: 3.30 – 6 pm
Psychiatry Prof Kevin Malone, Consultant Psychiatrist, St Vincent’s University Hospital & UCD; Dr Bernie McCabe, Consultant Psychiatrist, Navan Hospital; Dr Jacqueline Montwill, Consultant Psychiatrist, Mayo Mental Health Service; and Dr Sean O’Domhnaill, Consultant Psychiatrist
Session D: 6.15 – 8.45 pm Other Medical Specialities Ms Claire Mahon, President, Irish Nurses & Midwives Organisation; Mr John Saunders, Chair, Mental Health Commission; Dr Kevin Walsh, Consultant Cardiologist, Crumlin & Mater Misericordiae Hospital; and Dr Janice Walshe, Consultant Medical Oncologist, St. Vincent’s University Hospital
 Tuesday 21.05.13 Health and Children Public Hearings on the Heads of Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill 2013: Legal Hearings
Session A: 9.30 am – 12 noon
Medical Law
Session B: 12.15 – 2.45 pm
Constitutional Law
Session C: 3.30 – 6 pm
Medical Ethics
Session D: 6.15 – 8.45 pm
Members’ Time / Closing Statements

Thursday 23.05.13 Health and Children Update on Health Issues Minister for Health; Minister of State at the Department of Health with responsibility for Primary Care; Minister of State at the Departments of Health and of Justice, Equality and Defence with responsibility for Disability, Equality, Mental Health and Older People and Mr Tony O’Brien, Director General Designate, Health Service Executive

Management of new public hospital groupings to comprise 6 new roles
Each grouping will also include a primary academic partner
The Minister for Health, Dr James Reilly TD last week announced a reorganisation of public hospitals into six hospital groups, namely: Dublin North East; Dublin Midlands; Dublin East; South/South West; West/North West; and Midwest. Each group of hospitals will work together as single cohesive entities managed as one, to provide acute care for patients in their area, integrating with community and primary care. 

A policy framework will now be devised by the Department of Health and work on the roll-out of the groups will commence immediately. This will be overseen by a National Strategic Advisory Group and driven by the HSE. Group Chairpersons and CEOs will be appointed as soon as possible and preliminary governance arrangements will be put in place. Each hospital will be established on an administrative basis during an interim period and hospital groups will each establish an interim group board to which the management team will report. The Chair of the interim board will be appointed by the Minister. The Chair will then nominate the board membership for Ministerial approval. Each of the groups will be led by a group Chief Executive Officer who will be the accountable officer for the group.

The requirement for individual hospital management teams will be determined by the size of the hospital and the range of services provided at each site. However, the management teams of hospital groups must comprise the following key posts: Group Chief Executive Officer; Chief Clinical Director; Chief Academic Officer; Chief Director of Nursing; Chief Finance Officer; and Chief Operations Officer.  The hospital groups, according to the Minister, “will secure the future of our smaller hospitals. When the new groups are established, services can be exchanged between sites. This will result in the maintenance of activity in smaller hospitals and will allow them to focus on the provision of care that is safe and appropriate”. Each grouping will also include a primary academic partner.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Minister Announces Hospital Groups and Publishes The Framework for Smaller Hospitals
The Minister for Health, Dr. James Reilly TD today (Tuesday, 14 May, 2013) announced a reorganisation of public hospitals into more efficient and accountable hospital groups that will deliver improved outcomes for patients.  This represents the most fundamental reform of the Irish acute hospital system in decades.

The Government’s decision regarding the establishment and operation of the new hospital groups was informed by two reports - ‘The Establishment of Hospital Groups as a Transition to Independent Hospital Trusts’, produced by an expert group led by Professor John Higgins following consultation with stakeholders, and ‘The Framework for Development – Securing the Future of Smaller Hospitals.  Both reports were published today.  These reports fulfil important commitments in Future Health, the strategic framework for reform of the health service which was published last November.

Hospital Groups
By working in groups, hospital services will be provided by the hospitals in each group, based on the evidence based needs of their populations.  Each group of hospitals will work together as single cohesive entities managed as one, to provide acute care for patients in their area, integrating with community and primary care.  This will maximise the amount of care delivered locally, whilst ensuring complex care is safely provided in larger hospitals. Six hospital groups will be established as follows:

Ø       Dublin North East;
Ø       Dublin Midlands;
Ø       ·Dublin East;
Ø       South/South West;
Ø       West/North West;
Ø       Midwest

Each group will comprise between six and eleven hospitals and will include at least one major teaching hospital.  Each grouping will also include a primary academic partner in order to stimulate a culture of learning and openness to change within the hospital group.  Robust governance and management structures will be put in place at group level. 
Oireachtas Update 13 May 2013
This week in the Oireachtas the following will be raised: in the Dáil, there will be statements in relation to a report on offshore oil and gas Exploration and the Ministers and Secretaries (Amendment) Bill 2012 will be discussed at second stage and the Minister for Health will answer questions in the Dáil on Tuesday 14 May; in the Seanad a statement will be made on a recent OCED Review of the Irish Pensions System.; at Committee there are two private Health and Children Committee meetings on Tuesday 14 and Thursday 16 May in advance a full day of discussion on Friday 17 May in relation to the Public Hearings on the Heads of Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill 2013.

New Chairman appointed to HIQUA
Mr Brian McEnery the new Chairperson of the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) was announced by the Minister for Health.  Mr McEnery is a qualified accountant and currently a Partner with BDO Consulting (Corporate Finance and Healthcare). He is the lead partner in healthcare consulting dealing in particular with older person care, primary care and acute care (March 2012 to date) and was previously responsible for the financial management of the corporate finance and restructuring area of the firm.  The Minister welcomed the new appointment and commended the outgoing Chairperson Pat McGrath acknowledging his significant contribution as Chairperson of HIQA since its inception six years ago.

New inspection regime for HIQUA
HIQA has published its first report aimed at strengthening and improving Ireland’s child protection and welfare services. The report, HSE Child Protection and Welfare Service in Carlow/Kilkenny  is the first in a series of reports into Ireland’s child protection and welfare services that will be published by the Authority. 

The Authority now inspects HSE Children and Family Services to measure its compliance with the National Standards for the Protection and Welfare of Children. The Authority is also assessing the implementation by the HSE of Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children (2011).  The Authority will report on its findings publicly and, as part of this process, hope to promote improvements in these services and tackle the issues of non compliance highlighted in the report.
World Hypertension Day Thursday May 17

Will kick off with a national blood pressure check road show with a mobile unit in the following centres;
Ø       Monday 13 May 2013 10am – 2pm, City Square Shopping Centre, Waterford
Ø       Tuesday 14 May 2013 10am – 2pm, Mahon Point Shopping Centre, Cork
Ø       Wednesday 15 May 2013 10am – 2pm, Crescent Shopping Centre, Limerick
Ø       Thursday 16 May 2013 10am – 2pm, Eyre Square Centre, Galway
Ø       Friday 17 May 2013 10am – 2pm, Blanchardstown Centre, Dublin 15

St. James’s Hospital develops a new cancer test
St. James’s Hospital is involved in an international consortium in biomarking and through the Ion Torrent project are developing a test using nonagrmas of DNA to map multiple gene mutations at once.  The initiative is part of a drive towards personalised medicine which is yielding excellent results in the treatment of cancer.  The test will cost the same as current tests that detect individual cancer mutation genes which is approximately €200. 

Friday, 10 May 2013

Sir Muir Gray “Time to think differently”
Sir Muir Gray, Director of Better Health Care talks about move away from institutional based health care to a population based system.  Health care is a complex system that requires a population based and personalised approach to delivery
Gray, Director, Better Value Health Care,
Low Back Pain Linked to Bacterial Infection
New research from Spine Centre of Southern Denmark, has indicated that Modic type 1 changes/bone edema in the vertebrae are present in 6 % of the general population and 35-40 % of the low back pain population.  As it is strongly associated with low back pain investigators have concluded that antibiotics maybe considered as a treatment option for chronic lower back pain.  However the findings come with a caution as long term prescribing of antibiotics could increase drug resistance across the population.  There is also some debate among specialists of spinal chord injury.
Some Links…..

The Globe and Mail Newspaper (CA)

BMJ Blog (scroll down the web page)
BMC Medicine - Rest versus exercise as treatment for patients with low back pain and Modic changes.  RCT
Clinical Trials (US)