Issue 60 Health Matters

Some Christian Perspectives on Health and Sickness

on Wednesday, 03 June 2009. Posted in Issue 60 Health Matters

Gerry O’Hanlon SJ
May, 2009

Some Christian Perspectives on Health and Sickness


Introduction

‘There’s nowt so queer as folk’ – this, now non-politically correct, maxim from the North of England applies pretty well to the common human experience of taking good health for granted, while becoming anxious at the onset of illness. But, of course, there may be good reason for such anxiety – even minor ill-health causes inconvenience and loss of energy, while major illness, chronic or acute, brings great suffering and raises serious life and death questions. In what follows, I want to propose some Christian perspectives on health and sickness that may help to address some of the questions that arise at both a personal and a societal level.

Universal Health Insurance: What is it and would it be effective in Ireland?

on Wednesday, 03 June 2009. Posted in Issue 60 Health Matters

Fergus O’Ferrall
May, 2009

Universal Health Insurance: What is it and would it be effective in Ireland?

I\'m just sick

Are you VHI? Aviva? Quinn Health Care?

No, I'm just sick

© F.McGrath

Introduction

The Irish health care system is failing to meet the needs and expectations of Irish people in so many different areas where care ought to be provided.1 Dominating a range of failures in the system is the fact that care is provided in an inequitable manner. This is despite the stated commitment of the 2001 Health Strategy, Quality and Fairness, and of its 1994 predecessor, Shaping a Healthier Future, that ‘equity’ would be one of the core values underpinning Irish health care.2

The most striking examples of lack of equity in the system occur in hospital care: in effect, people on higher incomes are treated in preference to poorer people in a system where capacity is not adequate to care for everyone at the point of need. In addition, the quality of service given to those who can afford to use private care is superior to that given to those who cannot afford it – in terms of speed of access, consultant care and accommodation.

Working Notes Issue 60 Editorial

on Wednesday, 03 June 2009. Posted in Issue 60 Health Matters

May, 2009

Editorial

In a context of intense focus on the economic and financial difficulties facing the country, the Irish health system remains one of the few issues capable of taking centre stage in media and public discussion. We now find ourselves faced with not just the kind of health service crises that have characterised the past two decades but with new problems arising from the fact that the recession itself will have a major ‘health impact’.

Alcohol: A Key Public Health Issue

on Wednesday, 03 June 2009. Posted in Issue 60 Health Matters

Margaret Burns

May, 2009

Alcohol: A Key Public Health Issue

Off-licence sales of alcohol

Off-licence sales of alcohol have increased
dramatically

© D. Speirs

Introduction

The television documentary, When the Party’s Over, presented by Dr Mark Hamilton and broadcast on RTE just before Christmas 2008, provided many memorable images of Ireland’s current drinking habits and of the consequent impact on individuals and society as a whole.

One of the most striking features of the programme was the way it so clearly illustrated the fact that ‘ordinary social drinking’ as it has come to be defined in modern Ireland makes for levels of consumption that are well in excess of the limits for low-risk drinking advised by health authorities. It would appear that many people in Ireland would find themselves readily agreeing with the view of the young woman, quoted in a 2003 article in The Observer, who said: ‘That is not binge drinking. That’s called having a social life.’1

Irish Health Services: Money, Inequality and Politics

on Tuesday, 02 June 2009. Posted in Issue 60 Health Matters

Sara Burke

May 2009

Irish Health Services: Money, Inequality and Politics

Official reports on health

Some of the many official reports
on health

©JCFJ

Introduction

On 10 March 2009, the Minister for Health and Children, Mary Harney TD, said in the Dáil that emerging pressures on the finances of the Health Service Executive (HSE) would mean that savings of €480 million would have to be made elsewhere in its budget over the course of the year. The HSE, however, said on 12 March 2009 that in order to meet the new pressures and stay within budget it would have to make savings in other areas amounting to over €1 billion.

The divergence in the projections as to the scale of the shortfall went largely unnoticed by politicians, the media and the public. A month later, in a statement issued following the Supplementary Budget of 7 April 2009, the Minister for Health and Children referred to the shortfall as amounting to €540 million.1

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