#BlockedbyWells ?

Only hours into the job and new DUP Health Minister Jim Wells is already a big hit on social media. Hundreds of Twitter users reported that they had been blocked by Wells as they attempted to either follow or interact with his Twitter account.  The hashtag #blockedbywells was soon trending across Northern Ireland.                         Many of the ‘blocks’ were prompted by users asking awkward questions of the Minister’s controversial …

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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 …

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Assembly calls for debate on consent for Organ Donation

A couple of weeks ago the assembly had a debate on organ donation in Northern Ireland and discussed the option of presumed consent as a mechanism to increase organ donation rates. Edwin Poots called for a public debate on the issue. The issues in this are complex. Presumed consent may substantially increase the number of organs available for transplantation since although a majority of people state a willingness to donate their organs following death only a minority are registered donors. …

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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 …

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Godot arrives: Compton Review delivers

Last week I suggested that Northern Ireland health reform was like waiting for Godot. Now Godot has arrived, told us he is sorting out major changes and that he will be back soon. The Compton Review (pdf) is a large and highly impressive document. Despite having been carried out in only a few months it has clearly been well researched with examples taken from best practice throughout the UK. There are twenty one chapters which detail everything from maternity to …

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