The commotion around a helpline that didn’t work; a distrust of the HSE’s ability to supply reliable data; and a preoccupation with media coverage of the CervicalCheck crisis are themes in a series of revealing texts between the health minister and his most senior adviser (the texts have been obtained through Freedom of Information).
As the health service was engulfed by the scandal over the CervicalCheck screening programme, top medics and officials wanted that there wasn’t capacity to deal with the crisis while also maintaining the service’s normal operation, writes Health Correspondent.
The impact on tens of thousands of patients of escalating unrest in the health service continues today with members of the public asked not to use out of hours GP services as hundreds of family doctors gather in Dublin for a protest.
Ahead of today’s deadline for family doctors to sign up to free care for under-sixes, Health Minister Leo Varadkar and his junior minister Kathleen Lynch yesterday wrote to GPs to clarify issues around the scheme and tell those who have not signed the contract that it is not too late to do so.
GPs have just received the new contract governing care of under sixes. It has been described as sweet and sour. It gives a cash injection to practices that are in financial difficulty after disproportionate FEMPI cuts but does not give back grants that will allow rural practice to survive.
Reports that GPs are expected to be offered around €100 a year per child under the Government’s plans to provide free GP care to children under six years of age have been dismissed by the Department of Health.
Health Minister James Reilly paints a rosy picture of the future of Irish healthcare (‘The Health Service Needs to Change and Now Is the Time’, Irish Examiner, April 10). It is interesting that his missive is juxtaposed with an article by Chris Goodey, who warns loudly of the crisis in general practice.