Is Healthcare reform an unsquareable circle?

Two News Letter articles at the end of last week demonstrated the nigh on impossibility of solving the health services problems in Northern Ireland.  On the 14th February the new chief executive of the Health and Social Care Board Valerie Watts in response to the question “if people could expect to see smaller hospitals closing, with fewer but bigger hospitals remaining”. Ms. Watts replied: “That is my vision, yes, because that is the safest thing for Northern Ireland to have.” The same day there was a … Read more

Independent review into children’s congenital heart services

At the start of this month the Health and Social care Board released a report into paediatric congenital cardiac services in Belfast. The report was by a team of highly respected experts in the field chaired by Professor Sir Ian Kenny. The panel made a number of important conclusions: 3 ii: It is the surgical element of the service that provokes concern. iii: The panel has not identified any immediate safety concerns presented by the current arrangements v: However, the … Read more

The solution to hospital bed crises: not necessarily more beds

The problems surrounding the Emergency Department at Antrim Area Hospital have made the news several times this week and led to one general practitioner stating that he would not want to go there as a patient (well no one actively wants to be an A+E patient as no one wishes ill health on themselves but his point is well made). There are actually two different problems regarding A+E departments which have occurred in the last few weeks. They often occur … Read more

Waiting for Godot: Northern Ireland’s health care

Waiting for Godot, one of Samuel Beckett’s greatest works, documents Vladimir and Estragon’s fruitless wait for the eponymous Godot. At times waiting for health reform in Northern Ireland has been rather like Beckett’s play: lots of promises that it is about to happen but nothing ever does. In 1966 there was apparently a plan to have six main hospitals for Northern Ireland and most of the reviews subsequently have suggested that as the optimal number of acute hospitals. Throughout Direct … Read more

Edwin Poots to reform NI health care?

Edwin Poots was a fairly competent if at times somewhat undistinguished minister in the last Stormont executive. Since, taking on the Health portfolio, however, there are signs he has started to up his game to a marked extent. Initially he made the politically expedient choice as expected by all and gave the go ahead to the new Cancer Centre in Altnagelvin. Few surprises there. The News Letter today reported the BMA calling for a radical reduction in the number of … Read more

A rap with policy content…

Now, given I’ve just used Slugger’s bully pulpit to reinforce our Commenting Rules, I am posting this advisedly. It may be a personal attack on the Conservative Secretary of State for Health, but it’s pretty catchy and it has policy content… Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty