Republican News · Thursday 18 May 2000

[An Phoblacht]

Healthcare inequality

A new survey by Trinity College researchers has found that households in the leafy middle and upper class suburbs of Dublin are three times more likely to find a general practioner nearby than those living in a socially deprived area.

Researchers in the Department of General Practice and Community Health compared the locations of GPs' surgeries with a geographical index of social deprivation to formulate their findings.

Dr Tom O'Dowd, Professor of General Practice at Trinity College, has in response to the findings called for more investment in medical services in deprived areas. He believes that it is now time to start a debate about equity and fairness within the health service. O'Dowd said that ``there is a need for GPs who meet unfairness on a day to day basis to stand up and tell it as it is''.

Bertie's tightrope

Bertie Ahern is walking many tightropes these days and that's not only in terms of the two tribunals. Ahern has in recent weeks been taking up a sideline career in economic forecasting.

Last week, he told the annual conference of the Chambers of Commerce in Ireland that there was no basis for the belief that the 26-County economy was beginning to enter an inflationary spiral. He added his conviction to that of finance minister Charlie McCreevy, that the yearly average inflationary figure would be 3%.

Ahern had barely reached the high moral ground when the Central Statistics Office released their inflation figures for April. A range of factors has pushed the monthly figure up to 4.9%. If this rate is maintained for the year, the wage increases granted to workers under the Partnership for Prosperity and Fairness will be wiped out.

Speaking in Leinster House this week, Ahern still clung to his prediction that even though the inflation rate was ``higher than anyone would like'', he still believed the average figure for the year would be around 3%. Time will tell if Bertie's crystal ball is up to the job, otherwise he will find himself renegotiating the partnership agreement next spring.

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