The National Ambulance Service Representative Association says its women members fear they may be discriminated against as a result of the failure of management to identify opportunities for redeployment during pregnancy. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Staff association says ambulance staff unable to get sick benefits for workplace injuries

The Health Information and Quality Authority published hygiene reports on 11 different Irish hospitals on Friday. Photograph: Getty Images

Hiqa issued formal warning to Midland Regional Hospital over practices, says report

The Psychiatric Nurses’ Association has become the latest union to reject calls by Government ministers for increased productivity in return for pay increases.

Union says psychiatric nurses want ‘unfettered’ return of pay lost during recession

Seriously mentally ill patients should be re-admitted into care if they do not attend for treatment or take their medication, the annual conference of psychiatric nurses has been told

PNA conference warned of safety risk from mentally ill patients not taking medication

Sports stars like Stepanie Roche and  the Irish women’s rugby team are promoting women’s participation in sport. Photograph: Inpho

Only 12% of 10- to 18-year-olds get recommended hour of physical activity each day

Prof Niall Moyna of DCU is optimistic about the future as it is more acceptable for girls to continue in sport and there is an increase in team sport options. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

Countrywide schools challenge shows that boys’ fitness improves over same age period

Marie O’Connor of Survivors of Symphysiotomy: claims one woman was asked for receipts for incontinence pads  bought in the 1950s. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Judge cites lack of evidence but support group says ‘impossible’ levels of proof sought

Doctors say incentives work better than Australian plan for penalties

Dr Susan O’Reilly,  chief executive of the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group, has given assurances that all five departments at Portlaoise hospital will remain open. Photograph: Frank Miller

All five departments to remain open despite issues identified in two of them

New measures to speed up the processing of medical negligence cases and cut legal costs will be introduced by the end of the year, according to the Minister for Health Leo Varadkar

Legislation to reduce legal costs in medical cases to be passed by the end of the year

GP members of the Irish Medical Organisation are meeting in Kilkenny today to discuss the Government’s long- planned scheme for free GP care for children aged under six, due to come into effect in July.

IMO members discuss deal in Kilkenny, Leo Varadkar to make presentation

Fianna Fáil health spokesman Billy Kelleher said Minister for Health Leo Varadkar was prioritising his personal PR strategy by pushing out target times for waiting lists and presenting it as a breakthrough.

Minister for Health ‘presiding over the complete disintegration of the system’

The Irish Medical Organisation wants commitments on ring-fenced funding and an adherence to safety standards in the health service that are equal to or greater than those imposed by the Health Information and Quality Authority.  File photograph: Lex Van Lieshout/AFP/Getty Images

Doctors launch concerted drive to put health issues centre stage in election campaign

Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) past president Asam Ishtiaq told the conference that doctors are being denied their constitutional presumption of innocence at disciplinary hearings. Photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish Times/File photo

Irish Medical Organisation conference hears doctors ‘guilty unless proven otherwise’

The waiting list for outpatient appointments has been increasing since the beginning of 2014 and by the end of last month it had reached 405,501, according to the National Purchase Treatment Fund. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

Almost half on list have been waiting for appointment for more than six months

Before chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan published his report into the baby deaths at Portlaoise in February 2014, there was no evidence to show that at a national level, meaningful oversight of the hospital was maintained.  Photograph: Cyril Byrne / The Irish Times

Hiqa draft report finds no evidence to confirm ‘worthwhile discussions’ took place

In an email to a regional HSE official, local TD Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan  describes every department in the hospital as “in crisis”. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Mothers who lost babies after delivery were referred for bereavement therapy

The Coombe maternity hospital overspent by €1.1million in January. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

Hospitals told they have to cut budgets by an average of 2%, as more than 3,500 patients spend more than 24 hours in emergency de(...)

Significant concerns over the quality and safety of maternity services at Midland Regional Hospital in Portlaoise existed as far back as 2007 but were not acted upon, according to the draft report from the State’s health watchdog. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

Draft Hiqa report says regional HSE staff failed to act and declined external review

The draft report points to significant high-level concerns over the quality and safety of the maternity unit as far back as 2007. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

Hiqa concern that officials did not assess hospital after report about babies dying

HSE director general Tony O’Brien contends the draft report is unfair, lacks specific details, is inaccurate in some respects and fails to give reasons for its findings. Photograph: The Irish Times

Health watchdog report indicates an inert, indecisive and sluggish Health Service Executive

Former minister for health James Reilly told an Oireachtas health committee it was not Government policy to change Portlaoise to a model-2 hospital because it had maternity and paediatric units. Photograph: The Irish Times

Executive focused on budgets and failed to maintain hospital oversight, says watchdog

Patient safety risks at Midland Regional Hospital, Portlaoise, were present in general acute services and the maternity unit, says Hiqa. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

Executive and Midland Regional Hospital failed to act decisively, says watchdog

The Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP), which is responsible for GP training schemes, admitted a mistake was made in the way in which marks were allocated to applicants. Photograph: Hugh Macknight/PA Wire

Executive funds 12 more positions after error by Irish College of General Practitioners

The Rotunda Hospital. Photograph: David Sleator

Co-locating with Connolly Hospital Blanchardstown is forecast outcome of review

Sigrid Rausing In Dublin this week.  “If you fund human rights you have to take a neutral, disinterested view of politics, and you have to recognise that human rights abuses occur on the left and the right.” Photograph: Eric Luke

The Swedish billionaire has ploughed her Tetra Pak inheritance into charitable trusts which dispense €31m a year to human rights (...)

 An unpublished Department of Health review lists a number of options for improving the funding of the Fair Deal scheme, including increasing the State contribution or making those in nursing homes pay more

Government considers raising contribution under Fair Deal nursing home scheme

The present measures might not have been needed if Government had not cut the budget for Fair Deal by €30 million last year

Analysis: Fund of €74m a solid start, but success will necessitate ongoing financing

Malaria is caused by a parasite borne by mosquitoes. Only the United Kingdom and Belgium have higher rates of imported malaria among EU states than the Republic of Ireland. File photograph: Getty Images

Incidence of disease up 12% in year and now at worst level since 2010, data shows

The taskforce report is expected to recommend a number of measures to ease hospital overcrowding, including more weekend discharges and greater access to clinical decision-making and diagnostics from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week. Other recommendations will include the discharge of patients before 11am, seeing patients in emergency units within an hour, and a reduction in overnight stays. File photograph: Tim Ockenden/PA

Bulk of additional funding will go to Fair Deal nursing home support scheme

The new hospital is expected to be ready in 2017, but services will continue at the existing level while the development is ongoing. Photograph: The Irish Times

Green light for construction of 120-bed facility on the site of NRH in Dún Laoghaire

Saolta University Health Care Group, which runs the Portiuncula Hospital in Co Galway, says the review team is independent, and will be supported by investigatory staff drawn from other HSE hospital groups. Joe O’Shaughnessy

Investigation into maternity services at Co Galway hospital to take at least five months

Ireland used to have more widespread voluntary folic acid fortification than other European countries and the rate of birth defects fell up to 2008. However, it started rising again in 2009

Folic acid taken before and during pregnancy prevents most forms of neural tube defects such as spina bifida

Department chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan had recommended in his report that the Portlaoise unit be placed under the governance of the Coombe in order to provide quality and safe healthcare. Photograph: Aidan Crawley/The Irish Times.

Agreement due to be signed at HSE headquarters in Dublin on Thursday morning

“Heart disease remains a leading cause of death and disability in both parts of Ireland and high by European standards,” said Dr Roger O’Sullivan, director of the Centre for Ageing Research and Development in Ireland, which funded the study.

Rates of smoking and obesity in over-50s higher in Republic than in Northern Ireland

The Coombe hospital in Dublin. It balked at taking on the Portlaoise task without extra staff and resources

Report recommended maternity unit be placed under governance of Coombe Women’s Hospital to provide quality and safe care

Tony O Brien, director general of the  HSE, said he didn’t dispute the serious problems at the hospital. Photo: David Sleator/The Irish Times

Watchdog report into hospital could trigger legal action, warns Health Service Executive

Dr Wilfrid Hoover accused the hospital of “dilly-dallying” in carrying out an internal review into the death of Co Westmeath woman Ellen Devery-Allen in December 2013. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Faulty record-keeping by doctors noted but death not attributed to treatment by medics

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said he wants to see the Portlaoise hospital report published but added two organisations using public money should not be in “court situations”.

Taoiseach says agencies using public money should not be in ‘court situations’

HSE director general Tony O’Brien: described the women’s accounts as “unverified” and said the draft Hiqa report lacks accuracy and balance. Photograph: Alan Betson

Criticism of medical staff in care of 83 women but HSE challenges report

Over 30 per cent of mothers giving birth were single and 27 per cent were born outside Ireland, according to the HSE’s National Perinatal Statistic Report for 2013. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Past decade saw 24% rise in number of twin births, HSE report finds

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar has said it is not appropriate for government agencies to sue each other and that he would expect two bodies to sort out any dispute they had without resorting to the law.

Minister for Health responds to HSE threat to take legal action over Hiqa baby deaths report

Former minister for health James Reilly commissioned the report over a year ago. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Hiqa critical of midlands hospital where five babies died in controversial circumstances

Coloured mammogram of a woman’s breast that contains a cancerous tumour. The new test can help determine the most effective type of treatment for patients.

Over half of participants in study changed to hormone therapy, saving HSE €800,000

In five cases involving programme refugees since 2011, the HSE when asked to provide treatment in the Irish health service did not do so, it has confirmed.

Five programme refugees diverted after HSE says medical treatment will not be available

St Vincent’s hospital: Overcrowding at one of Dublin’s main teaching hospitals has almost doubled overnight after 40 “hidden beds” were included in the figures for the first time. Photograph: Dave Meehan

74 patients recorded as being on trolleys after 40 ‘hidden beds’ included in figures

Director of Mental Health Reform Shari McDaid: Case raised questions about access to investigations for patients in the centres involved Photograph: Alan Betson

Concern expressed at failure to act quicker in instance of nurse struck off for sexual conduct

Ireland already has by far the largest incidence of cystic fibrosis in Europe. Photograph: The Irish Times

Debilitating illness set to become disease of adults predominantly, rather than children

Critics of the proposals emanating from a UN agency have dubbed them the “Irish model law” because of the alleged role of an official from the former Irish Medicines Board  in drafting them

Proposals to tackle counterfeit drugs dubbed as the ‘Irish model law’ by critics

The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland found eight nurses guilty of professional misconduct in its latest  findings

Two nurses had relationships with psychiatric clients and third stole €24,000

Leo Varadkar: the Minister for Health’s proposed Bill on assisted legal reproduction can do nothing to regulate the practice of overseas surrogacy. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Complications over babies’ status as birth mother is actual mother for legal reasons

Families Through Surrogacy, which conducted the survey, said about half (12) of the 25 Irish people or couples who organised a surrogacy abroad travelled to Thailand, seven went to Georgia, five to India and one to the US

Survey shows 25 couples paid up to €150,000 for women overseas to bear them a child

Fianna Fáil health spokesman Billy Kelleher: “There are more than 2,500 children who have been waiting more than three years to be seen.” Photograph: Alan Betson

Numbers now above 17,600 but only children with greatest need provided with treatment

Over 70 per cent of hip fractures were suffered by women; this rose to almost 80 per cent among those aged 90 or over. Photograph: Getty Images

National Office of Clinical Audit report finds lack of preventative follow-up

The report says that most of the 25 recommendations made last June by the group, chaired by Prof Brian MacCraith, president of Dublin City University, are in the process of being implemented. Photograph: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

Most of MacCraith group's 25 recommendations made in June still being implemented

Dr Tony Holohan, chief medical officer of the Department of Health: “The indicators in this report signal that certain services require further analysis and examination in order to identify if a problem exists.” Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Report shows what areas are working and where things can improve

A Department of Health spokeswoman pointed out the new meningitis vaccine has not been included in any national immunisation programme by any other country. Photograph: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

NIAC says vaccine should be provided nationally if ‘cost-effective’ price can be agreed

Tullamore, Blanchardstown, Cavan, Naas and Cork rates are ‘significantly higher’

Maker of ‘exorbitantly priced’ blood disorder drug declines invite to appear before TDs

Pharmaceutical industry representatives have rejected claims that Irish drug prices are high compared to other European countries

Pharmaceutical industry rejects charges of high costs for prescription medicines

Minister and HSE says audit showing excessive spending is still draft

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar at the Leopardstown races. Photograph:  INPHO/Donall Farme

Varadkar urged consumers to get covered before age-related levy in May

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation said it would continue its campaign until the registration fee was reduced to last year’s level of €100. Photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

Union members hold protests against increase and say they will continue campaign

 The Midland Regional Hospital:  it has been at the centre of controversy since early last year when it emerged that five babies had died in similar circumstances after being delivered there. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

Former HSE director calls performance in dealing with complaints unacceptable

Portiuncula Hospital in Ballinasloe, Co Galway: Measures were introduced after the detection of seven cases in which babies died or were seriously injured

Department of Health expressed concern about maternity safety at Portiuncula

Warren and Lorraine Reilly from Loughrea who lost two  children while attending Portiuncla Hospital. Photograph: Andrew Downes

HSE resisted issuing apologies to families over troublesome births, documents reveal

Portiuncula Hospital, Ballinasloe, Co Galway. Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy

In February the inquiry into the hospital was expanded to cover at least 12 cases

Undated photographs of Gerry Feeney, supplied by his family

Minister has contacted Beaumont Hospital chairwoman Ann Fitzgerald about the case

Independent midwife Philomena Canning (centre) has been reinstated by the Health Service Executive to assist in home births. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times.

Solicitors for HSE say ‘necessary foundation’ no longer exists for temporary suspension

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar: ‘proposing something of a halfway house’ for legislation on assisted human reproduction. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins Dublin

Analysis: obvious focus of disagreement is plan to legislate for surrogacy

Aviva is promoting GP consultations for their members via smartphone while the VHI has teamed up with an online service through which customers can get prescriptions. Photograph: Getty Images

IMO calls on Government to stop health insurers offering GP services by Skype

Clinics fear the Children and Family Relationships Bill, which proposes to create a national register of sperm and egg donors, will lead to a reduction in donations and encourage more couples with fertility issues to seek help abroad. Photograph: Alan Betson /The Irish Times

Fertility clinics fear Children and Family Relationships Bill will lead to reduction in donations

Breast cancer survivor Teresa Doran, Mullingar calls for an extension of the screening programme at Leinster House in 2014. The only breast cancer surgeon at Letterkenny General Hospital says the Saolta University Hospitals Group want to close the service down and centralise it in Galway. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

Donegal cancer surgeon Michael Sugrue raises concerns over lack of resources

Overall, death rates have been falling for over half a century, but the rate of improvement across social groups varied greatly during the boom, Prof Richard Layte of the ESRI said. Photograph: Getty Images

Study highlights role of alcohol in driving gap in life expectancy across social groups

The ESRI research adds to the science supporting further measures to reduce alcohol consumption, by marking the role played by digestive diseases (notably cirrhosis caused by excess drinking) in the mortality rates between rich and poor. Photograph: The Irish Times

Stark difference noticeable along class lines, with better-off accounting for most of gains

 Prof Richard Layte of the ESRI said the research provided the first analysis of the way differentials in mortality changed during the last three decades in Ireland. Photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

Improvement ‘took off’ from 2000 but seeds of trend sown earlier during 1990s

Key driver in improved mortality rate has been reductions in smoking. Photograph: The Irish Times

Gains in living standards and adoption of healthier lifestyles cited as key reasons

There were 38 maternal deaths between 2009 and 2012, a Maternal Death Enquiry report says.Photograph: Thinkstock

A new Confidential Maternal Death Enquiry report shows fatalities are up 22 per cent

Declan Egan says he faced ‘ethical dilemma’ during operation and acted to minimise risk

Hiqa wrote to the hospital last November saying it was concerned over the risk to patients from a variety of issues identified by inspectors. Photograph: Thinkstock/Getty Images

Hiqa expresses concern over ‘especially poor standards’ on hospital wards

Hiqa chief executive Phelim Quinn: his criticism of Ombudsman Peter Tyndall is revealed in documents obtained through a Freedom of Information request. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons.

Hiqa chief calls Ombudsman’s remarks about handling of complaints ‘inaccurate’

Examining a mammography test: about 3,000 cases of female breast cancer are diagnosed each year. Photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

New referrals to State’s eight breast cancer centres doubled in recent years

There was a 22 per cent rise in the number of maternal deaths in 2010-2012, according to the second report of the Confidential Maternal Death Enquiry. Photograph: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

Pregnancy-related mortality rate has now been found to higher than that of the UK

What will the Children and Family Relationships Bill do?

At least 12 births where issues arose are to be investigated in the review of Portiuncula Hospital, Ballinasloe, Co Galway. Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy

UK obstetrician Prof James Walker to lead review of 12 cases at Galway hospital

With overcrowding at record highs, here’s seven ideas to end it.

With patients on trolleys at record high, what can be done to resolve the problem?

Liquorice: woman said she had “habitually” eaten it on a daily basis as it was on sale in her local shop

Patient (56) ended up in hospital with headache, nausea and high blood pressure

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar deserves credit for this first step towards much-needed regulation on assisted human reproduction. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Analysis: Scant detail in Leo Varadkar’s proposals except in relation to surrogacy

At least one of those involved in a surrogacy arrangement would have to be a genetic parent under the proposals to be brought to Government by Minister for Health Leo Varadkar.

Ministers approve drafting of law on assisted human reproduction

More than 500 people are awaiting admission to hospital on trolleys in emergency departments around the country. Photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

Record 55 patients awaiting admission in University Hospital Limerick

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar: More money would also have to be made available for home care packages. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Minister calls for action as overcrowding in hospitals pushes trolley crisis above 540

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar: The surrogacy proposals are expected to include a provision that at least one of those involved has to be a genetic parent. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Leo Varadkar proposal that one parent would share genes aims to end legal vacuum

New restrictions on the use of sunbeds, including a ban on promotions and a requirement to use protective eyewear, are to be introduced next month.

Leo Varadkar announces measures including use of protective eyewear and warning signs

St James Hospital has ceased paying unauthorised allowances worth almost €500,000 a year to its senior staff

St James Hospital says it ceased paying unauthorised allowances worth almost €500,000 a year to senior staff

 Minister of State Kathleen Lynch: on a damage-limitation exercise.  Photograph: Alan Betson

Government can’t risk the wrath of the ‘grey lobby’ by increasing charges, but it needs to do something to address the root cause(...)

Inequality from different backgrounds among here worst in Europe and America

Older people will not have to pay more to bridge funding gaps in the Fair Deal nursing scheme, Minister of State for Primary Care Kathleen Lynch has promised. .Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Kathleen Lynch promises existing Fair Deal contributions will not be raised

People in the scheme contribute up to 80 per cent of their assessable income and 7.5 per cent of the value of their assets per annum, but this may have to be increased. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Funding for long-term nursing home care ‘unsustainable’, warns Minister

Minister of State for Primary Care Kathleen Lynch has said the Fair Deal scheme  would need additional funding to reduce waiting lists and invest in community supports, and ensure patients did not have to go into care. File photograph: John Stillwell/PA Wire

Nursing home scheme is ‘Achilles heel’ of health service, says HSE chief

Warren and Lorraine Reilly, who lost two babies after treatment at Portiuncula hospital, have appealed to Minister for Health Leo Varadkar (above) to ensure the hospital review is extended.  Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

HSE boss Tony O’Brien says some maternity cases raised go back 35 years

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