Sunday, 20 January 2013

Bed blockers, hospital food, and the cost of a testicle - news roundup

Latest stories from Ireland turned up by FOI requests:

The Belfast Telegraph used FOI to disclose that nearly 19,000 days were spent in Northern Ireland hospital beds by healthy patients - so called 'bed blockers'.

The Irish Examiner attempted to find out how much the Health and Safety Executive spends on overheads in hospital food budgets - but were met with a demand for 'search and retrieval' fees of over €500 to get the information. The same newspaper revealed that an unnamed body funded by the HSE and tasked with aiding frontline services has suffered 'serious fraud' in the past three years.

Meanwhile, the Irish Times reveals that property owners in the Republic are much less likely to have their houses repossessed than in Northern Ireland. Other disclosures include the detail that compensation paid to Garda Siochana (police force) included over €140,000 for loss of a testicle, and that one barrister was paid €450,000 in 22 months by the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The Irish Independent writes about the letters cabinet ministers have sent to local authorites on behalf of their constituents. Numbering almost a thousand since the government took office, the letters show issues from requests for social housing and action on anti-social behaviour to complaints about rodent infestations and help in obtaining new front doors.

Finally, the Londonderry Sentinel discovered, using Freedom of Information legislation, that Universities minister Dr Stephen Farry visited Derry City twice between the beginning of 2012 and Halloween. (Evidently not a busy news day in Derry, then).

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