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An informative authority

DANIELLE BARRON speaks to HIQA’s Professor Jane Grimson on the importance of improving health information systems

When originally established, the medical community were understandably wary of HIQA and in some cases it was likened to NICE, the much-maligned body in the UK. Professor Jane Grimson, Director of Health Information with the Authority, recently admitted to IMN that their role so far has not been the regulatory one most people foresaw, but rather one of recommendation and guidance on crucial issues facing patient safety and standards of care.



Yes, Minister/Doctor

PAUL MULHOLLAND examines the record of all the doctors who have been Health Ministers since the foundation of the State


As revealed in IMN last week, Fine Gael’s health spokesperson, Dr James Reilly, is the overwhelming favourite to become the new Health Minister. If appointed, he will become the fifth doctor to hold the position, following on from Dr James Ryan (1947-48, 1951-54); Dr Noel Browne (1948-51); Dr Rory O’Hanlon (1987-1991); and Dr John O’Connell (1992-93). In addition, Dr Conn Ward was Health Minister in all but name from 1944 to 1946, before the Department of Health was established.


An unsentimental medical education

GAVIN KEANE Returning to college to study medicine has been an adventure



Going back to college to study medicine was a big step for me. I had a great job as a sports journalist, where I was essentially paid to watch sport all day and write about it. I have been asked many times why I chose to abandon such a dream job and pursue the arduous path to doctordom. I have yet to come up with a satisfactory answer.


A literary pill

BRENDAN O'SHEA Recommending books can often be of benefit to patients


Many of us have the habit of recommending the odd book to a patient, given the right circumstances. I have been doing it for 20 odd years in practice. In the last five-to-seven years the activity has been dignified beyond belief by giving it a moniker, and calling it Bibliotherapy. I wonder does that make me a Bibliotherapist, and will I have to start doing extra CME in order to be allowed to continue to be “an accredited service provider” on some register, maintained in an office, in this, our benighted Kafkaesque State? Setting aside such unworthy considerations, I have found the following to be of benefit in practice. In the beginning...


Shutting the eye of reason

GEORGE WINTER Faith, in most its forms, requires a degree of blindness


In the spring of 1969 Ric Grech, Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood and Ginger Baker formed a band. It broke up before the year was out. The band was named Blind Faith, perhaps the triumph of hope over doubts harboured by at least one of its founder members. Whereas Blind Faith is a footnote in the history of rock music, blind faith is what motivated some repellent Islamabad lawyers to throw flowers at the murderer of Salman Tanseer – the governor of the Punjab who dared to question Pakistan’s blasphemy laws.

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