Does Ireland Need the Constitutional Right to Health?

Why should health professionals have to shout from the rooftops that their patients may be harmed or die because they are under resourced/funded? Why should patients or carers (often sick themselves) have to set up their own advocacy groups out of serious concerns for themselves or their loved ones? Why should ordinary people have to march for the homeless and the most vulnerable of our society? Imagine if charities, unions or voluntary groups did not have to compete with one another so that they could get better access to health services; recruit/retain more doctors, nurses or consultants or reduce waitingRead More…

Advocacy for Advocates – Silence is Not Always Golden.

*Warning this is a long blog post – I’m not apologising for it’s length, I’m just giving you the heads up.* Even writing this blog I feel myself shaking. Fear reaches peak as I wonder if my story will lead to even more negative repercussions for me. Anxiety flows through me as I recall events that deeply, deeply affected me. Nearly ending in the loss of my life. Nearly three years ago, I was thrown into such an unexpected crisis that it directly impacted on me; my family; my business; my shareholders; my reputation; my career and those who were workingRead More…

Irish Children’s Arthritis Network

The Irish Children’s Arthritis Network (ICAN) saw a need to evaluate the needs of patients, parents, carers and health professionals related to the Transition of Care (Juveniles) into Adult Care. I have designed interactive workshops and facilitated all three sessions (adults, children and health professionals) with an aim to understand the issues, benefits and challenges with regards to transition of care for young teenagers. I analysed, reviewed and evaluated the outputs of the workshops with an aim for ICAN to inform key decision makers and national policy. I am currently an external advisor to the Chairperson and committee, in allRead More…

Doing it with us, not for us…

“Taking account of the perspectives of patients and their families is crucial to articulating the reality and identifying the gaps between patient safety measures possible and the levels of safety being experienced by patients.” Building a Culture of Patient Safety, July 2008 Staff Guide to Patient and Public Participation, Cork University Hospital In the last two and a half years, I have attended many health conferences – coming face to face with some of the most innovative people & solutions in health care and more often than not, finding myself wanting to tell every patient in the country about howRead More…

A Day in the Life of a Patient Attending an Outpatient Clinic: The Problems and Solutions

I arrive at a hospital I haven’t been to before. I have been told in my appointment letter to go  directly to the outpatients desk to let them know I’m here. I look around – there are three reception areas – but which one is  for outpatients? I logically choose the one nearest the front entrance, wait in a queue for five minutes but am then told that this is the reception area, and that I need to go to the one near the coffee shop. Looking at my watch (as I’m now afraid I’ll be late) I head over to the queue that has over ten other people waitingRead More…

Are “Self Management” courses worth the paper they’re written on?

A 46 year old man stands at the kitchen counter in his house staring blankly at the two bags of medicines he has just collected from his pharmacy. Maurice – his heart full of regret; his head racing with anxiety. Feeling unhappy, scared about his future – and feeling, oh, so alone. Suddenly he is stirred from his thoughts as his four children – two teenager boys and twin 10 year old girls – come bounding into the house with their mom in tow, after being collected from school. He smiles at them, pushes the dreaded bags aside and asks them how theirRead More…

When patients have no choice but to be innovative…

Patients and carers across the world are constantly coming up with new ideas in relation to the management of medications, achieving daily tasks with limited mobility, tracking symptoms and even finding ways to remember medical information. I myself even came up with the MediStori – a personal health organiser – while caring for my dad who was on 22 medications! And this last week, for us, it was no different. This time, however, it was not because of one of the many chronic conditions each of my daughters have – it was simply because my youngest daughter had slipped on a path,Read More…

Speaking at the National Patient Forum 2015

At 7.30am last Tuesday, I found myself talking aloud in my car, en route to Dublin, practicing for a presentation that I would be delivering at the National Patient and Service User Forum that same morning. Looking back,  I was really getting into it and I quite animatedly corrected myself when I went off track by shaking my head and frowning– I’m sure if anyone saw me, they surely had an early morning laugh on my behalf! Anyway, it was just as I said the words “collaboration is key” that my GPS decided to gently interrupt my thoughts to let meRead More…

Overcoming Post Traumatic Stress Disorder [PTSD]

This is how I told my story at Heart Children Ireland’s National AGM… “Hi my name is Olive, and I am a mum of three girls; Micaela Nicole and Mackensie.  I was going to tell my story spontaneously , but every time I practised doing it this way, my emotions took over and I forgot where I was, so today I am going to read it out to make sure I don’t skip over anything. We, as a family, come up to Dublin quite often as each of my girls see different specialists in Crumlin, including their cardiologist, Dr Coleman.Read More…

Codeine and Cigarettes. Why it’s easier to smoke than get pain relief…

A few weeks back, myself and the hubby decided we’d take a much needed break from all the running around in work and so on the Friday, we jumped in the car with the kids, not minding the oncoming four hour road trip because we knew we’d be able to relax at the other end of the journey. Upon arrival, I was in great form to see our beautiful holiday destination but as soon as I started to get out of the car my mood took a bit of a downturn- my good old knees started giving out their usual creaks, whichRead More…

World Health Innovation Summit: The Platform for Patients and Professionals, with the Purpose to Partner.

With hundreds of health events being launched every single day across the world, I often hear people say, “Oh, conferences – they’re just a money making racket” or “Health professionals feel they have to go to them, to earn learning credits”, or “They’re just excuses to get out of work and go out on the town afterwards”. Often when I talk to patients like me, they tell me that the topics of discussion at health conferences and such, can often be too “disconnected from reality, from a users perspective” or that they don’t benefit personally from such events . Well, after listening to all these type of comments andRead More…

The Patient’s Perspective on eHealth Ireland’s Ecosystem.

Last month, I was both delighted, and honoured, to be invited to keynote the 4th National eHealth Ireland Ecosystem meeting, as chaired by the first CIO of the HSE,Mr Richard Corbridge. When I was told that this particular get together was focusing on an initiative called the “Lighthouse Project” my first thought was – “I can’t wait to see their projects!” and this was immediately followed by – “I wonder how the audience, who are working on much needed electronic health records in Ireland, will react when I tell them I developed paper based health records!?!” I also thought what an appropriate name for such projects – I thought of beingRead More…

Reassurance – Often written, rarely verbalised.

As I came in from another long day at work, my three girls (and three dogs, I might add!) all came running at me – just before I got a chance to glance at the post that had arrived that day. After seeing their happy faces and hugging them tightly, I felt so reassured that they were so happy, and that yet another day had gone by where I had gone to work and that they were still okay by the time I got home (don’t get me wrong my babysitter is amazing – it’s just a thing I think allRead More…

Presenting and attending at the National Medicines Forum 2015

Last Thursday, on the 30th April 2015, the 3rd National Medicines Forum was held in No.6 Kildare Street, Dublin 2 – also known as the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland.  Upon walking in the doors of this truly remarkable building, you honestly feel like you’ve stepped back in time – you can feel the depth of history and can imagine the learning that was absorbed by medical practitioners gone by. Ironically this same sense actually ran as a theme for a lot of the day as many of the speakers reflected on past eras to compare to present activities. As I walked into the great Corrigan Hall, IRead More…