Don’t hold your breath waiting for promised health initiatives

We have entered familiar territory with the controversies over Universal Health Insurance (UHI) and free GP care for the under-sixes. We are now, as we so often are, not on the edge of a brave new world, but in the land of political promises, where the fulfilment of a promise is the main aim – the introduction of some fairness, efficiency and quality in our health service is a mere by-product.

It all started so well. ‘Free’ GP care sounds like something good – who could be against something that would ease the weekly financial burden on families? Universal Health Insurance sounds wonderful too – the first real measure that attempts to provide healthcare on an equal basis to everyone, or so it would seem from the terminology.

The reality, of course, is much different.

Continue reading »

The tragic death of Phillip Seymour Hoffman

Like the chameleon manner in which he seemed to almost inhabit his screen and stage characters, the death of Phillip Seymour Hoffman in New York last week forces us to think about the stereotype of the drug addict in a different way.

Philip Seymour Hoffman, who died on 2 February after consuming a fatal mixture of heroin, cocaine, a

Hoffman was not a petty criminal. He wasn’t emaciated and wasted, wandering around the city looking for his next fix. On the contrary, he was a successful actor and director with an Oscar to his name and many more accolades and tributes to come, had he lived.

Continue reading »