Do you need a doctor now?

The annual general meeting of the National Association of General Practitioners (NAGP) took place this weekend in Limerick. It didn’t tell us anything we didn’t know already – that is, if you have been following the health debate in Ireland for any time. The problem is, like most things in health, most people don’t really follow health issues until they have a ‘health issue’ of their own. It’s a perfectly logical position, but one that allows for a lot of obfuscation by the ‘powers that be’.

Those ‘powers that be’ are the Health Service Executive, the Minister and the Department of Health and ultimately, the government. For them, it’s all about the statistics and how they can be managed. It has very little to do with, and is only coincidentally related to the care of patients. Continue reading »

The Umbrella Revolution

As thousands of people take to the streets today to protest at water charges I wonder if they will have any more effect than they would have if they protested about the rain pouring down on them. Not that I doubt there will be some effect. When that number of people assemble for any reason the political structures must react.

But since all the major parties have a basic position of being in favor of water charges, with the exception of Sinn Fein, it’s hard to see how they might reverse their positions easily. And, should they try, they face the problem of (as they would see it) imposing more austerity in some other area that would be equally unpopular. Continue reading »