Minister of State with responsibility for Primary Care Kathleen Lynch and Minister for Health Leo Varadkar at the launch of the online registration system for the free GP care for the under-6s scheme. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

HSE refuses to allow ‘conditional’ acceptance of contract from doctors with concerns

Parents can still register their children on gpvisitcard.ie for free GP care.

More than 79,000 children entitled to free GP care following registration

The Rotunda is to move to the site of Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown and the Coombe is to transfer to a site adjacent to the planned new national children’s hospital at St James’s Hospital

Rotunda going to site in Varadkar’s constituency, Coombe will be beside St James’s

The number of private and voluntary nursing homes dropped by nearly 4 per cent to 437 over the past five years, at a time when the older population was growing, a survey carried out by Nursing Homes Ireland (NHI) shows. Photograph: Thinkstock.

Survey shows weekly difference of over €350 between facilities in Dublin and Donegal

Dr Bobby Smyth: said similar findings had been made in other countries where bans were introduced. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Study appears to contradicts claims by critics of crackdown that it would drive demand underground rather than reducing it

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

‘Last thing the Government wants in run-up to an election is further debate on issue’

Kilkenny District Court has made an interim order cancelling the registration of Our Lady’s Unit at St Patrick’s Centre with effect from last Friday evening.

Court cancels registration of unit at St Patrick’s Centre after Hiqa queries

‘I’m afraid that by the time they sort this out, my body will be too weak for a transplant’

“The potential remains to reduce public spending on pharmaceuticals, in particular patented medicines,” according to the commission’s recommendations.  Photograph: PA Wire

European Commission rebuffs complaint by group representing Irish pharma companies

The Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar. “Their ambition is that we should raise the minimum industrial wage and then put everyone on it.” Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Sinn Féin takes donations but ‘doesn’t believe in America’, says minister

Britain’s Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service found that Dr Vincent Kent ‘acquiesced’ in the creation of a false account, implacing an ‘innocent fellow practitioner’

Dr Vincent Kent, whose fitness to practice was in Britain was ‘impaired’, listed as providing cosmetic surgery services in Dublin(...)

Retired surgeon David Hickey at the Beaumont Hospital pancreas transplant unit. Since his retirement the unit has closed and no transplants have been performed. File photograph: Aidan Crawley

Patients suffering due to lack of pancreas transplants at hospital, says David Hickey

Beaumont Hospital was unable to say when pancreas transplants would resume. Photograph: Eric Luke

Former surgeon accuses hospital of ‘callous disregard’ of needs of those on waiting list

Professor of obstetrics at UCD Michael Turner. Mr Turner told the Oireachtas health committee that pregnancy complications linked to neural tube defects such as spina bifida was a public health issue of major importance. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Rise in birth defects linked to reduction in vitamin intake among childbearing women

No internet pharmacy, whether legitimate or not in another country, can supply drugs to customers in Ireland. That hasn’t stopped the flow of medicines into Ireland from overseas merchants hawking their wares on the web.

Crackdown on illegal medicines about to get tougher as online trade continues to grow

Garda and health products authority investigating ‘fat burning’ drug containing DNP

Dr Rhona Mahony, master of the National Maternity Hospital. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

High expectation and low resources are a challenge, according to Dr Rhona Mahony

The Public Accounts Committee chairman John McGuinness said getting value for money is central to proper procurement, but in the case of the HSE “that is simply not happening”. Photograph: David Sleator/The Irish Times.

Public Accounts Committee says goods and services not being procured competitively

The Alone organisation said a third of those in nursing home care with low to medium dependency needs could live at home if they were supported to do so. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Insufficient invested in ageing at home, says Alone

The Alfred Beit Foundation is to consider postponing the sale of a number of paintings from Russborough House in Co Wicklow.

Board to meet to discuss pulling of paintings from auction after private donors make offer

The Midlands Regional Hospital in Portlaoise. A review which looked at case notes of 28 births about which concerns have been raised, many in Portlaoise, has been published.  Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons / The Irish Times.

Women who have adverse events in maternity units ‘should receive reviews in two months’

Artwork by young architect Sophie Kelliher for the Industria exhibition.

Projects developed as part of ‘Industria’ exhibition challenge with DIT and IDA Ireland

The Towers Pub closed its doors last year after over 40 years in business after the premises were purchased by Dublin City Council, which plans to redevelop the shopping centre. Photograph: The Irish Times

Fire crews tackling blaze at former venue which featured on crime drama Love/Hate

Hiqa chief executive Phelim Quinn. The health watchdog is to be given the power to investigate incidents in private heathcare, under new legislation to be drafted shortly. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times.

Varadkar says measure designed to alleviate concerns about service safety and quality

The Irish Kidney Association says the post-transplant clinic at Beaumont Hospital has ceased following the retirement of David Hickey, the country’s only pancreatic transplant surgeon. File photograph: Aidan Crawley

Many transplant patients have been forced into overcrowded emergency departments

A woman patient has sustained multiple fractures after falling out of a window at Cavan General Hospital. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times.

Woman had subdural haemorrhage as well as fractures after incident early on Thursday

The NAGP has told members it had no choice but to end court proceedings after receiving legal advice it was likely to fail and the association would be liable for all legal costs. Photograph: Getty Images

GP group says withdrawal of court case a “dark day” but vows to continue opposition

Dr Vikas Gobin faces an allegation of professional misconduct in relation to an incident  at the Front Door pub in Galway in December 2011. Photograph: David Sleator/The Irish Times

Dr Vikas Gobin faces allegation of professional misconduct over Galway pub incident

Health service staff should be legally required to inform patients when mistakes or errors occur, according to a new report from the Oireachtas Health Committee.

Oireachtas health committee says doctors should be obliged to tell patients of mistakes

Consultant neurosurgeon Charlie Marks: While agreeing he erred, he is highly critical of the cost of the investigation and the time it took. Photograph: Daragh MacSweeney/Provision

Leading surgeon Charlie Marks launches stinging critique in wake of investigation

“A very small number of people” had sight of data relating to one other individual’s application, according to the HSE

More than 20,000 children registered despite online system crash

People who eat up to two bars of chocolate daily have a lowered risk of heart disease and stroke, according to new research. File photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Research finds link between higher intake and lower chance of cardiovascular events

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar and Kiya O’Connor at the launch of the online registration system for  free GP care for children under six at St Andrew’s Resource Centre, Pearse Street, Dublin. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Launch of free GP care for under-sixes has gone well despite glitches, says Leo Varadkar

Applications to the HSE have opened and the scheme will kick off from July 1st. You can register at gpvisitcard.ie or send in an application card (downloadable from the site) by post.

Free GP care for under-6s? Yes please. How do I avail of it?

HSE director general Tony O’Brien: appointed a three-person investigation team comprising experts from the UK to examine management and clinical failures at Portlaoise hospital. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Nearly 20,000 complaints made last year, marking significant rise on 2013 figures

Minister of State for Primary Care Kathleen Lynch said efforts needed to be sustained to continue reducing child admissions to adult units. Photograph: Eric Luke

Programme for Government in 2011 stated intention to abolish practice

Dr Declan Egan failed to adhere to Lorna McKeogh’s consent by clipping both of her fallopian tubes instead of one, but this did not amount to poor professional performance, according to the Medical Council. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times

Woman sterilised by Declan Egan accuses Medical Council of failing to support patients

The HSE says 51 per cent, or 1,232 of the 2,413 GPs who hold medical card contracts, have signed up. It has also written to 336 GPs who do not hold contracts, inviting them to sign up. Photograph: Getty Images

HSE says 51 per cent of doctors have agreed to operate the scheme ahead of launch

A disciplinary inquiry into a Galway fertility doctor who clipped both of a woman’s fallopian tubes when he had consent to clip one  heard that he believes he acted in the patient’s best interests

Medical Council chairman says case involving Dr Declan Egan raised issues of concern

The HSE has apologised to a patient who suffered a serious adverse incident in Cavan General Hospital ’s maternity  unit. The incident did not involve the death of a baby. File photograph: Getty Images

Health Service Executive commissions four external investigations into fatalities

The Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) has said that it has no formal role in the investigation of complaints about long waits on hospital trolleys. File photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Health watchdog says it has no formal role in examining hospital complaints in this regard

Some 338 patients were on trolleys or in extra ward beds in emergency departments waiting for admission to hospital on Monday, according to  the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Almost 415,000 people waiting for outpatient appointments in May

The scheme is fiercely opposed by one group representing family doctors, the National Association of GPs, which claims it will cause chaos in general practice. Photograph: Getty Images

Group of physicians opposed to under-sixes proposal to launch High Court challenges

The entrance to Tallaght hospital. The hospital has expressed regret over a delay which resulted in a 102-year-old woman spending more than 26 hours on a trolley in its emergency department this week. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Patient given transfusion in emergency department while waiting for bed

Complex surgery transferred from Portlaoise to other hospitals

The Medical Council has revealed its frequent use of emergency court applications to protect public safety at the launch of its annual report, which shows disciplinary hearings against doctors are increasingly being heard in private. File photograph: Karl Grupe/Getty Images

Complaints over doctors fell from 400 in 2013 to 308 last year, says Medical Council

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar: likened arguments against the GP scheme for care of under-sixes to opposition to major health reforms in the past. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

More than 1,000 GPs sign contract as Minister says there is ‘no looking back’ on plan

Water in Ireland is currently fluoridated at between 0.6 and 0.8 ppm, half the limit permitted by the World Health Organisation. File photograph: Getty Images

Most studies examined not suitable to prove or disprove link to health effects, research finds

Review of previous studies does not give us clear-cut answers in respect of many of the claimed negative health effects of fluoridation

Analysis: Lack of definitive evidence means some will continue to call for change

HSE director general Tony O’Brien. St Vincent’s Healthcare Group has threatened a ‘legal battle’ with the health executive if more than 100 consultants are prevented from doing private work. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Healthcare board to take action if consultants are prevented from doing private work

Tánaiste Joan Burton. Ms Burton has said that the constitutional protection for TDs and Senators in the Dáil is a cornerstone of democracy. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Tánaiste says that parliamentary privilege is a cornerstone of any democracy

The first group of patients with advanced liver disease who have been approved will be treated at one of 10 centres across the State in the coming weeks. Photograph: Getty Images

Nearly all 250 sufferers expected to recover after treatment costing up to €55,000 each

 While tobacco use is declining across Europe, it has fallen four times faster than average in Ireland, from 29 per cent to 21 per cent since 2012.  File photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

Just 21% of people in Ireland smoke, the fourth lowest rate in the union

Patients are afraid to complain about the care they receive in hospitals because of concerns over possible repercussions for themselves or their loved ones, according to an investigation by the Ombudsman. Photograph: AFP

Ombudsman Peter Tyndall says people don’t think complaining will make any difference

A disciplinary inquiry into a Galway fertility doctor who clipped both of a woman’s fallopian tubes when he had consent to clip one has re-opened before the fitness to practise committee of the Medical Council.

Galway doctor Declan Egan before Medical Council fitness to practise committee

The research at St Vincent’s hospital in Dublin was led by Prof Donal O’Shea: ‘If we can understand how the body burns energy and defends itself against weight loss, we’ll eventually be able to come up with different treatments.’

Research found fewer Mait cells in obese patients that could make weight loss harder

Prof Robert Harrison, who resigned as chairman of the Institute of Obstetricians after ‘The Irish Times’ published details of correspondence to Minister for Health Leo Varadkar. Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill

Chairman resigns after correspondence questioning women’s place on group

Cyclists take part in the Mallorca 312, a long-distance circumnavigation of the island by bike. Photographs: Mallorca312.com

The Mallorca 312 race must be completed within 14 hours, but there is still time to enjoy the experience

Savita Halappanavar, whose death lead to calls for a new maternity strategy. Obstetricians have queried the presence of two women who lost children at Portlaoise hospital in a steering group for developing this strategy.

Two women who lost babies at Portlaoise hospital are in maternity steering group

 Eddie Kelly, Carlingford, Co Lough, who received a new heart in an operation at the Mater hospital, Dublin,  in  September 1985, leaving the hospital with his wife Eileen and the nurses in charge of the Intensive care unit (from left): Sr Ursula Bullen, Cork, Sr Mary Bridget and Sr Pat O’Leary. Photograph: Pat Langan/The Irish Times

Legislation to encourage organ donation may be introduced before April 2016

Chairman Justice Alan Mahon has ruled all documents other than specified “relevant material” be returned to the person who provided them or their lawyers. Photograph: The Irish Times

Internal ruling that private papers be given back or destroyed before inquiry is wound up

Tony O’Brien said the HSE bid for €22 million to fund initiatives,  but got nothing. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Clinicians made a special appeal for funding to address ‘serious inadequacies’ at the hospital

 Tony O’Brien, director general of the HSE, leaving the Dáil following the  Oireachtas health committee. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Health body accused of trying to suppress programme on Portlaoise hospital deaths

Tony O’Brien’s LinkedIn page said he was “director, clinical strategy and programmes, HSE from May 2011 to March 2012”. It was then changed to say that he was as director of clinical strategy and programmes from May 2011 to September 2011, not March 2012 (right).

HSE director general’s LinkedIn profile changed after HSE complaint about article

From left: Ollie Kelly, Amy Delahunt, Roisin Molloy and Mark Molloy appearing at the Oireachtas health committee.

Families who lost children told to ‘go away and have more children’, health committee hears

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar during a visit to Portlaoise hospital last week. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Reactions to Hiqa report make it hard to be confident of its implementation

Former Coombe master Dr Chris Fitzpatrick confirmed a report was sent to the HSE and the Department of Health ‘at the highest level’ under the auspices of the HSE’s clinical programme in obstetrics. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Call for resources to address ‘serious inadequacies’ unheeded by Government officials

Prof Brian MacCraith, president of DCU: a group chaired by him has made a series of recommendations for improving medical training and working conditions which are  being implemented. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh / The Irish Times

HSE culture must change to encourage doctors and nurses to return, says study

Variations in infant death rates within acceptable limits, says NPEC

The study said 1,148 deaths of adults in the Republic aged over 30 years were attributable to air-pollution particles in 2011. Photograph: Getty Images

Study - reduction of 40% emissions via fuel-burning could save 500 lives annually

Cavan General Hospital: despite four infant deaths in 30 months and concerns raised about the slow progress of investigations, Minister for Health Leo Varadkar said a review of all deaths at the unit was not warranted ‘at this stage’. Photograph: Colm Connaughton

Leo Varadkar says review of all fatalities at Cavan maternity unit not yet warranted

Hiqa chief executive Phelim Quinn has called on Minister for Health Leo Varadkar to establish an oversight committee in the Department of Health to ensure the recommendations in the report on Portlaoise hospital are implemented. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Political commitment vital for improvements to health system safety, says Hiqa chief

Former minister for health James Reilly said last May he would instruct the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) to review maternity services at the hospital. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Four babies have died in 30 months at the maternity unit due to be reviewed by Hiqa

The HSE failed to take decisive action on defining the role of the hospital and to resource it sufficiently. For example, up to last July, the 24/7 emergency department had an emergency medicine consultant on site for only six hours, four days a week. Photograph: Getty Images

Report calls for HSE action plan, with one person accountable for implementation

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar: Promised the independent patient advocacy service recommended in the report by the State’s health watchdog would be fully independent of the Health Service Executive. Photograph: Collins

Minister pledges strategy for maternity services in wake of infant-fatalities report

HSE director general Tony O’Brien promise to take “whatever action is appropriate” once he has had the chance to read the report in full. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

HSE chief’s ‘swift and decisive action’ mantra unravels on closer examination of the facts

Hiqa chief executive Phelim Quinn speaking at the publication of the Patient Safety Investigation Report into services at Portlaoise. Behind him are Prof James Walker and Mary Dunnion. Photograph: Dave Meehan.

Problem is lack of overall maternity strategy in Ireland, says obstetrician James Walker

Parents: Mark and Róisín Molloy, whose baby Mark died at Portlaoise hospital in 2012. Photograph: Eric Luke

A series of newborn deaths at Midland Regional Hospital, in Portlaoise, was exposed only through the grim determination of five be(...)

Hiqa chief executive Phelim Quinn said the report shone a light on what happened in the hospital and described it as a “seminal moment” in the history of the health service. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times.

Investigator says bereaved mothers reprimaned by hospital staff for crying

Delegates vote at the annual conference of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation in Trim, Co Meath. Photograph: Lisa Cawley

INMO president Claire Mahon says nurses expect clear timetable for full pay restoration

Tony O’Brien, director general of HSE: Hiqa has stuck by the vast majority of criticisms it made of the HSE in an earlier draft of the report, despite a threat by  O’Brien to injunct publication if changes were not made. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

Management of HSE and hospital failed to act on known patient safety risks, says report

Nurses expect a clear timetable for full pay restoration, INMO president Claire Mahon told the union’s annual conference.

Conference hears calls for shorter working hours and reinstatement of pay cuts

Speakers at INMO conference criticise health regulator following series of critical reports

Irish Nurses and Midwives general secretary Liam Doran said nurses are being left isolated and alone to appear before a professional body. Photograph: Eric Luke / THE IRISH TIMES

INMO conference also hears watchdog commit to further review of maternity care

The National Treatment Purchase Fund has said that the  number of patients waiting for an outpatient appointment has risen to a new record of more than 412,000. File photograph: Thinkstock

National Treatment Purchase Fund says number has risen to more than 412,000

Liam Doran, general secretary at the INMO (Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation) and Minister for Health Leo Varadkar: Mr Doran said the extra €74m from the Government to help the trolley crisis is welcome but is not enough to solve the problem. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Concern about continuing trolley crisis expressed at start of INMO conference

While some women take supplements once they are pregnant, not enough are doing so. Also, by then it may be too late, as the baby’s neural tube develops in the first month after conception. Photograph: Thinkstock

The incidence of birth defects is on the rise because Irish women are not getting enough folic acid. Is it time for Ireland to ado(...)

The team carrying out the review at Wexford General Hospital believes that, in some cases, cancers were missed when the patient underwent the original colonoscopy. Photograph: Joe St Leger/The Irish Times

Patient follow-ups in wake of concerns over quality of colonoscopy analyses in hospital

Dr Jacinta Wright: noted authority on the 19th-century French writer George Sand and an enthusiastic Francophile

An Appreciation

Members of the Coombe board repeatedly expressed concerns over the Health Service Executive’s proposal to take responsibility for services in Portlaoise, where five babies have died in controversial circumstances in recent years.  Photograph: Getty Images/Blend Images

Funding, ‘reputational risk’, staffing and resources were fears for Coombe hospital

There are five radiologists per 100,000 population in Ireland compared with 7.8 in Germany and 11.3 in France, says Royal College of Surgeons.

RCSI faculty says more consultants needed after X-ray errors

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar: said further reviews would be necessary in a number of other hospitals where the locums worked. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins

Radiologist is one of three whose work is being re-examined in unlinked reviews

At Wexford General Hospital a review of colonoscopies carried out in the hospital, announced in February as part of the BowelScreen programme, has been doubled. Photograph: Joe St Leger

Call-back of patients following concerns at how locums read colonoscopy scans widens

Some 63 per cent of private patients delayed going to see a GP due to cost, while 68 per cent delayed seeing a consultant for this reason. Photograph: Getty Images

Public patients face long delays for consultant visits, Adelaide Hospital Society and TCD find

Trainees who reported working longer hours and bullying were more likely to have poorer health and wellbeing

Medical Council survey: Significant minority of trainees struggling with quality of life

 Taoiseach Enda Kenny: ‘There are clearly changes that are needed in the structures of the way things have been done.’ Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times

Mistakes found in work of locum radiologists employed by HSE

An artist’s impression of the exterior of the proposed new  National Children’s Hospital at St James’s in Dublin

Oval-shaped building features a ‘therapeutic garden’ on roof

The three locums worked at Kerry General Hospital, Cavan Monaghan Hospital and Bantry General Hospital. Photograph: Getty Images.

Mistakes found in work of three locum radiologists employed by Health Service Executive

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar. “I won’t be allowing my own background or my sexual orientation to dictate the decisions I make,” he told Miriam O’Callaghan in January. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Minister for Health has said any decision on whether to lift outright ban on gay men donating blood will be made on scientific gro(...)

What galls colleagues who worked with some of the locums is that they are costing far more than a directly employed staff member would. Photograph: Thinkstock

Radiology review indicates hazards of hospitals relying on locums to plug staff gaps

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