Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Dates for your diary

Autism Conference highlighting practical solution for parents with emphasis on the latest evidence based approach to diagnosis, management and services for adults.
The Irish Centre for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Research
National University of Ireland, Galway
Reachout.com is a service dedicated to taking the mystery out of mental health and to help young people to get through tough times and is run by the Inspire Ireland Foundation.  Reachout.com are calling all aspiring young film makers and or animators to make a film or animation that is under two minutes long demonstrating ways to get through a tough time in one's life.  The project is called “inspire a generation”.
Closing Date 8th July!
Oireachtas Update 27th May 2013
In the Dáil this week, the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Bill 2013 will be discussed at second and remaining stages. In the Seanad, there will be a discussion on EU - US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. MEP Paul Murphy will speak on the topic. The Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform will meet with Ms Josephine Feehily, Chairman of the Office of the Revenue Commissioners to discuss the ongoing property tax collection.

As a consequence of the European Court of Justice ruling, Ireland can no longer set a mandatory level below which cigarette prices cannot be lowered as this would be restricting the freedom of industry to make effective use of competitive advantage.  Therefore, the Public Health (Tobacco) (Amendment) Bill 2013 will be discussed in the Seanad – Second Stage on Wednesday 29th May 3pm - 4.30pm by Minister for Health spokesperson Senator Colm Burke.

Government approval for plain cigarette packaging In advance of No Tobacco Day on Friday 31st May, the Minister for Health James Reilly has announced that Ireland is to become the second country in the world to introduce plain packets of cigarettes, after AustraliaMinister Reilly said he was “confident that this legislation will be justified and supported purely by the fact that it will save lives”.  The plain packs will have no branding, such as trademarks, logos, colours and graphics.  A uniform typeface will be used for all brands and the packs be in one plain, neutral colour. 

Evidence suggests that standardised packaging will: Increase the effectiveness of health warnings; reduce false health beliefs about cigarettes; and reduce brand appeal particularly among youth and young adults.
The Irish Cancer Society and the Irish Heart Foundation have welcomed today’s Government announcement that Ireland will become one of the first countries in the world to ban branding from cigarette packaging.

Holles Street Hospital to be relocated to St. Vincent’s Hospital The relocation of Holles Street Hospital, which is housed in an outdated building and has suffered from severe pressure on its space for many years, was announced by Minister Reilly.  Co-location of maternity hospitals with adult acute services is the optimal solution for the provision of hospital-based maternity services, as it can provide access to the full range of medical and surgical specialties and clinical support services in sufficient volume and complexity to provide added value.  The new maternity hospital on the St Vincent's site will be designed to accommodate up to 10,000 births per annum. It will be located beside the main St Vincent's general hospital building.  A total of €150 million has been allocated for the relocation project,

Friday, 24 May 2013

Patient Safety Conference in Dublin Watch Live

The 3rd National Patient Safety Conference is taking place on Friday 24th May 2013 in the Croke Park Conference Centre, Dublin 3.

 Watch the livestream for free here:


Tuesday, 21 May 2013

The Irish Institute of Mental Health Nursing is pleased to announce its 4th Annual Symposium:
'Recovery and Mental Health in Ireland: The State of Play',
6 June 2013 in the Douglas Hyde Lecture Theatre, Main Building, Athlone Institute of Technology.

Health Film Festival the National Centre for Arts and Health at Tallaght Hospital and Rua Red will stage a special festival of health films titled “through the lens” aimed at health professionals, film makers, the public and service users interested in the perceptions of older age as represented oin film

Public Hearings on the Heads of Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill 2013:
THE OIREACHTAS COMMITTEE on Health and Children are currently in session for three days of public hearings on the government’s proposed new legislation on abortion, following its publication of the heads of the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill 2013.  The debate in relation to the Bill has crystallised around one issue, the threat to the mother’s life where there is a risk of suicide.  Leading psychiatrists at the Public Hearings have been voicing opposing views to the inclusion of the suicide clause to the Bill.  There was a deep divide in the stance of the 13 psychiatrists that reported to the committee yesterday.  Some acknowledged that although suicide is a very small risk it is a “real” risk, others see their role as merely assessing a woman’s eligibility for termination, while others are concerned about the “normalising suicidality” in legislation, a further group expressed that termination can never be a treatment for suicidality while others are concerned that psychiatrists might become “gatekeepers to abortion”.  Legal Hearings on the Heads of Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill 2013 are being held today:
Oireachtas Update 20 May 2013
In the Dáil this week, the Houses of the Oireachtas Inquiries (Privileges and Procedures) Bill 2013 will be discussed at second stage.  Statements will be made prior to the meetings of the European Council. EU leaders meet on May 22. this is in relation to competitiveness, job creation and growth.
In the Seanad this week, the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Bill 2012 will be discussed.  The Bill sets out proposals to allow the substitution of medicines by pharmacists at a patient’s request and to improve and update the statutory basis for the supply of medicines and other prescribed items under the General Medical Services, GMS, and community drugs schemes. It sets out a clear legislative basis for the supply and reimbursement of items to patients under the GMS and community drugs schemes. It also sets out criteria which the HSE must take into account when making reimbursement decisions. This Bill will allow the HSE to attach conditions to the supply of certain items, provided that any restrictions are evidence-based and in the interests of patients and ensuring value for money.  The safety of generic medicines underpins this Bill. Where generic medicines are being proposed they must meet exactly the same standards of quality and safety and have the same effect as the original medicine. All of the generic medicines on the Irish market are required to be properly licensed and meet the requirements of the IMB. To further enhance the safety aspect of generic substitution, section 13 gives a prescriber the option of indicating on a prescription that a branded interchangeable medicinal product should not be substituted, if there are clinical reasons not to do so.
It is important, in the current economic climate, to take every step possible to provide public services efficiently, to limit costs to the greatest extent possible and to involve users of resources in better understanding the value of those resources and their appropriate use.
The Committee on Health and Children will meet on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday of this week to discuss the Heads of Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill 2013.

Dáil; Thursday 23.05.13 Health Service Executive (Governance) Bill 2012 (Seanad) Order for Report, Report and Final Stages) (Department of Health) Houses of the Oireachtas Inquiries

Seanad; Tuesday 21.05.13
The Seanad Chamber is being used by the Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children which is holding on the General Scheme of the Protection of Life in Pregnancy Bill 2013
 Wednesday 22.05.13 Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Bill 2012 – Report Stage (Amendments from Dáil Éireann) Minister of State for Primary Care

Committee Meetings: Monday 20.05.13  Health and Children Public Hearings on the Heads of Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill 2013:
Session A: 9.30 am – 12 noon
Psychiatry and Perinatal Psychiatrists Dr Anne Jeffers, Consultant Psychiatrist, College of Psychiatrists of Ireland; Dr Maeve Doyle, Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, College of Psychiatrists of Ireland; Dr Joanne Fenton, Consultant Perinatal Psychiatrist; Dr Anthony McCarthy, Consultant Perinatal Psychiatrist; and Dr John Sheehan, Consultant Perinatal Psychiatrist
Session B: 12.15 – 2.45 pm
Psychiatry Dr Yolande Ferguson, Consultant Psychiatrist, Tallaght Hospital; Dr Peadar O’Grady, Consultant Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist; Prof Veronica O’Keane, Consultant Psychiatrist, Tallaght Hospital & TCD; and Dr Eamonn Moloney, Consultant Psychiatrist, Cork University Hospital
Session C: 3.30 – 6 pm
Psychiatry Prof Kevin Malone, Consultant Psychiatrist, St Vincent’s University Hospital & UCD; Dr Bernie McCabe, Consultant Psychiatrist, Navan Hospital; Dr Jacqueline Montwill, Consultant Psychiatrist, Mayo Mental Health Service; and Dr Sean O’Domhnaill, Consultant Psychiatrist
Session D: 6.15 – 8.45 pm Other Medical Specialities Ms Claire Mahon, President, Irish Nurses & Midwives Organisation; Mr John Saunders, Chair, Mental Health Commission; Dr Kevin Walsh, Consultant Cardiologist, Crumlin & Mater Misericordiae Hospital; and Dr Janice Walshe, Consultant Medical Oncologist, St. Vincent’s University Hospital
 Tuesday 21.05.13 Health and Children Public Hearings on the Heads of Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill 2013: Legal Hearings
Session A: 9.30 am – 12 noon
Medical Law
Session B: 12.15 – 2.45 pm
Constitutional Law
Session C: 3.30 – 6 pm
Medical Ethics
Session D: 6.15 – 8.45 pm
Members’ Time / Closing Statements

Thursday 23.05.13 Health and Children Update on Health Issues Minister for Health; Minister of State at the Department of Health with responsibility for Primary Care; Minister of State at the Departments of Health and of Justice, Equality and Defence with responsibility for Disability, Equality, Mental Health and Older People and Mr Tony O’Brien, Director General Designate, Health Service Executive

Management of new public hospital groupings to comprise 6 new roles
Each grouping will also include a primary academic partner
The Minister for Health, Dr James Reilly TD last week announced a reorganisation of public hospitals into six hospital groups, namely: Dublin North East; Dublin Midlands; Dublin East; South/South West; West/North West; and Midwest. Each group of hospitals will work together as single cohesive entities managed as one, to provide acute care for patients in their area, integrating with community and primary care. 

A policy framework will now be devised by the Department of Health and work on the roll-out of the groups will commence immediately. This will be overseen by a National Strategic Advisory Group and driven by the HSE. Group Chairpersons and CEOs will be appointed as soon as possible and preliminary governance arrangements will be put in place. Each hospital will be established on an administrative basis during an interim period and hospital groups will each establish an interim group board to which the management team will report. The Chair of the interim board will be appointed by the Minister. The Chair will then nominate the board membership for Ministerial approval. Each of the groups will be led by a group Chief Executive Officer who will be the accountable officer for the group.

The requirement for individual hospital management teams will be determined by the size of the hospital and the range of services provided at each site. However, the management teams of hospital groups must comprise the following key posts: Group Chief Executive Officer; Chief Clinical Director; Chief Academic Officer; Chief Director of Nursing; Chief Finance Officer; and Chief Operations Officer.  The hospital groups, according to the Minister, “will secure the future of our smaller hospitals. When the new groups are established, services can be exchanged between sites. This will result in the maintenance of activity in smaller hospitals and will allow them to focus on the provision of care that is safe and appropriate”. Each grouping will also include a primary academic partner.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Minister Announces Hospital Groups and Publishes The Framework for Smaller Hospitals
The Minister for Health, Dr. James Reilly TD today (Tuesday, 14 May, 2013) announced a reorganisation of public hospitals into more efficient and accountable hospital groups that will deliver improved outcomes for patients.  This represents the most fundamental reform of the Irish acute hospital system in decades.

The Government’s decision regarding the establishment and operation of the new hospital groups was informed by two reports - ‘The Establishment of Hospital Groups as a Transition to Independent Hospital Trusts’, produced by an expert group led by Professor John Higgins following consultation with stakeholders, and ‘The Framework for Development – Securing the Future of Smaller Hospitals.  Both reports were published today.  These reports fulfil important commitments in Future Health, the strategic framework for reform of the health service which was published last November.

Hospital Groups
By working in groups, hospital services will be provided by the hospitals in each group, based on the evidence based needs of their populations.  Each group of hospitals will work together as single cohesive entities managed as one, to provide acute care for patients in their area, integrating with community and primary care.  This will maximise the amount of care delivered locally, whilst ensuring complex care is safely provided in larger hospitals. Six hospital groups will be established as follows:

Ø       Dublin North East;
Ø       Dublin Midlands;
Ø       ·Dublin East;
Ø       South/South West;
Ø       West/North West;
Ø       Midwest

Each group will comprise between six and eleven hospitals and will include at least one major teaching hospital.  Each grouping will also include a primary academic partner in order to stimulate a culture of learning and openness to change within the hospital group.  Robust governance and management structures will be put in place at group level. 
Oireachtas Update 13 May 2013
This week in the Oireachtas the following will be raised: in the Dáil, there will be statements in relation to a report on offshore oil and gas Exploration and the Ministers and Secretaries (Amendment) Bill 2012 will be discussed at second stage and the Minister for Health will answer questions in the Dáil on Tuesday 14 May; in the Seanad a statement will be made on a recent OCED Review of the Irish Pensions System.; at Committee there are two private Health and Children Committee meetings on Tuesday 14 and Thursday 16 May in advance a full day of discussion on Friday 17 May in relation to the Public Hearings on the Heads of Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill 2013.

New Chairman appointed to HIQUA
Mr Brian McEnery the new Chairperson of the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) was announced by the Minister for Health.  Mr McEnery is a qualified accountant and currently a Partner with BDO Consulting (Corporate Finance and Healthcare). He is the lead partner in healthcare consulting dealing in particular with older person care, primary care and acute care (March 2012 to date) and was previously responsible for the financial management of the corporate finance and restructuring area of the firm.  The Minister welcomed the new appointment and commended the outgoing Chairperson Pat McGrath acknowledging his significant contribution as Chairperson of HIQA since its inception six years ago.

New inspection regime for HIQUA
HIQA has published its first report aimed at strengthening and improving Ireland’s child protection and welfare services. The report, HSE Child Protection and Welfare Service in Carlow/Kilkenny http://hdl.handle.net/10147/291056  is the first in a series of reports into Ireland’s child protection and welfare services that will be published by the Authority. 

The Authority now inspects HSE Children and Family Services to measure its compliance with the National Standards for the Protection and Welfare of Children. The Authority is also assessing the implementation by the HSE of Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children (2011).  The Authority will report on its findings publicly and, as part of this process, hope to promote improvements in these services and tackle the issues of non compliance highlighted in the report.
World Hypertension Day Thursday May 17

Will kick off with a national blood pressure check road show with a mobile unit in the following centres;
Ø       Monday 13 May 2013 10am – 2pm, City Square Shopping Centre, Waterford
Ø       Tuesday 14 May 2013 10am – 2pm, Mahon Point Shopping Centre, Cork
Ø       Wednesday 15 May 2013 10am – 2pm, Crescent Shopping Centre, Limerick
Ø       Thursday 16 May 2013 10am – 2pm, Eyre Square Centre, Galway
Ø       Friday 17 May 2013 10am – 2pm, Blanchardstown Centre, Dublin 15

St. James’s Hospital develops a new cancer test
St. James’s Hospital is involved in an international consortium in biomarking and through the Ion Torrent project are developing a test using nonagrmas of DNA to map multiple gene mutations at once.  The initiative is part of a drive towards personalised medicine which is yielding excellent results in the treatment of cancer.  The test will cost the same as current tests that detect individual cancer mutation genes which is approximately €200. 

Friday, 10 May 2013

Sir Muir Gray “Time to think differently”
Sir Muir Gray, Director of Better Health Care talks about move away from institutional based health care to a population based system.  Health care is a complex system that requires a population based and personalised approach to delivery
Gray, Director, Better Value Health Care,
Low Back Pain Linked to Bacterial Infection
New research from Spine Centre of Southern Denmark, has indicated that Modic type 1 changes/bone edema in the vertebrae are present in 6 % of the general population and 35-40 % of the low back pain population.  As it is strongly associated with low back pain investigators have concluded that antibiotics maybe considered as a treatment option for chronic lower back pain.  However the findings come with a caution as long term prescribing of antibiotics could increase drug resistance across the population.  There is also some debate among specialists of spinal chord injury. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23404353
Some Links…..

The Globe and Mail Newspaper (CA)

BMJ Blog (scroll down the web page) http://blogs.bmj.com/bjsm/feed/
BMC Medicine - Rest versus exercise as treatment for patients with low back pain and Modic changes.  RCT http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7015/10/22
Clinical Trials (US) http://clinicaltrials.gov/show/NCT00454792

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

All Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care Research Fellowships
Four Clinical Research Fellowships for health and social professionals worth €10,000 each have been made available to those working in clinical practice in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland by the All Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care 

These Fellowships, will assist individuals to protect dedicated time within their clinical commitments in order to undertake small-scale research project/activities in one of the following broad areas relevant to palliative care:
  • Symptoms/ symptom management
  • Psychosocial  support for patients and/or carers
  • Research focused on specific groups and populations
  • Health service research
  • Research informing policy and practice
The purpose of these Fellowships is to facilitate individuals to develop, commence or continue a project in their area of interest. This might be, for example, a:
  • Systematic review
  • Feasibility/pilot study
  • A stage/phase of a larger study
  • Development of a research proposal for funding
Oireachtas Update 7 May 2013
This week in the Dáil, the Housing (Amendment) Bill 2013 will be discussed at second stage. In the Seanad, the National Lottery Bill 2012 will be discussed at report stage. In Committees, the Foreign Affairs and Trade Committee will meet to discuss a number of items to mark Europe Week including the European neighbourhood policy, enlargement of the EU and developments in the OSCE.  The second Global Irish Economic Forum will also be held by the Foreign Affairs and Trade Committee where the issue of undocumented Irish in the U.S.A. will be discussed.

In the Dáil, on Thursday May 9th the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Bill will be discussed.  On Wednesday May 8th EU Commissioner Máire Geoghan Quinn will address the Seanad on “The role of research, innovation and science in supporting the development of the Irish economy”.  At Committee on Tuesday 7th and Thursday May 9th there will be private meetings of the Health and Children Committee.

Ombudsman granted access to examine complaints against further 180 public bodies
From 1st May 2013 the Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly can now examine complaints from members of the public about the administrative actions of public organisations including Universities, Vocational Education Committees, the Student Grant Appeals Board, FÁS, the National Treatment Purchase Fund, the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA), and the new Family Support Agency, among many others.  In the first instance, the public must first try to resolve their complaint with the public organisation in question but can then proceed to make a complaint to the Ombudsman once that ‘action’ occurred on or after May 1 2013.
In order to provide guidance to public bodes the Ombudsman, together with the Chairman of the Oireachtas Committee on Public Service Oversight and Petitions, Padraig Mac Lochlainn TD, last week launched two Guides: The Ombudsman Guide to Good Public Administration – ‘Six Rules for Getting it Right’, is designed to help public bodies provide a first-class service to their customers; and ‘Listen, Respond, Learn, Improve’, provides advice on setting up internal complaints systems.  The Ombudsman already has the power to examine complaints against Government Departments, local authorities and the HSE (including public hospitals).

Drafting of the Regulation of Lobbying Bill 2013 approved
The Government has approved the drafting of the Regulation of Lobbying Bill 2013 which will bring improved transparency on public policy formulation and to encourage participation in the decision making process.  The Bill provides for a statutory user-friendly, web-based register of lobbying activity. Additional features of the Bill include: the appointment of a regulator to manage the implementation of the register and monitor compliance; the introduction of a cooling off period of one year during which designated former public officials seeking to lobby their former colleagues in the public body in which they previously worked will be obliged to apply to the regulator; and the exemption from the Bill of individuals who are communicating with their local political representatives in relation to private or personal matters.  The Bill will define the lobbied as follows: Ministers; Ministers of State; TDs, Senators and members of their staff; members of local authorities; special advisers; Ombudsman and Comptroller and Auditor General; senior civil and public servants; and other persons as may be prescribed.

Smoky coal Ban
The Asthma Society of Ireland has welcomed the decision of the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government to extend the ban on the sale and supply of smoky coal.  Under the new Regulations the smoky coal ban will be applied to the following towns with effect from 01 May 2013; Greystones, Letterkenny, Mullingar, Navan, Newbridge, Portlaoise and Wicklow Towns  The Asthma Society of Ireland has previously called for a full nationwide ban on smoky coal across Ireland to improve air quality and deliver positive benefits to Irish asthma sufferers. Given that the EU has designated 2013 as the Year of Air, this is positive news for the people living in these areas.  Some 470,000 people in Ireland have asthma, including one in every five children. While smoky coal is known to have a detrimental effect on those affected, many people are unaware that its use is still allowed outside of large towns and cities.  Minister Hogan envisages a total ban on the use of smoky coal within three years.

INMO's 94th Annual Delegate Conference In Letterkenny.
Minister Dr James Reilly is to address the Irish Midwives and Nurses Organisation at its annual conference this week.  The 94th Annual Delegate Conference of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) will see more than 350 nurses and midwives gather in Letterkenny tomorrow Wednesday may 8th for the three-day event.  INMO General Secretary, Liam Doran said that the conference theme of ‘Protecting the Frontline’ “aptly sums up the approach of the organisation”.  The conference will be making a call for the introduction of agreed mandatory nurse/patient ratios in Ireland, with a standard staff level of one nurse to every four patients in mainstream wards.

Dates for your diary
Wednesday May 8th Public seminar in the Stanley Quek Theatre, Trinity College Biomedical Sciences Institute
Topic: Your brain: the secret to health ageing? Speaker Prof Ian Robertson. http://www.tcd.ie/Neuroscience/neil/news/
Thursday May 16th Seminar for health professionals organised by the Association for the Study of Obesity at DCU School of Nursing and Human Science
Topic: The assessment, management and prevention of cardiovascular and musculoskeletal problems resulting from obesity.  Speakers include Prof Donal O’Shea.
Saturday May 18th Annual Conference of Cuidiu/Irish Childbirth Trust
Topic Positive parenting, Guest Speaker David Coleman
Thursday May 30th fifth annual conference of the All Ireland Gerontological Nurses Association in Dundalk
Theme: Helping older people to flourish in different care settings, the Nursing Contribution.  Key note speaker Prof Barbara Bowers.