IMO President, Dr. Ronan Boland addressed over 400 graduates, mainly in Medicine & Health, at UCC’s annual summer conferring ceremony today 16th June 2011.
Dr. Boland a former student of UCC said; “It is a great honour to address you today as a local doctor, as the President of the Irish Medical Organisation but most especially as a proud graduate of UCC.”
He addressed the parallels with the predicament in which Ireland now finds itself when he qualified in 1987. “A new government, high unemployment, cutbacks, increases in high tax rates and reducing public services were the order of the day.”
He said; “Then, as now, Irish medicine and health care did not operate in a vacuum. Highly educated, trained and motivated professionals will do what is required to further their careers and improve their skills and expertise. Many of you will leave Ireland, at least in the short term, in pursuit of opportunities.”
Dr. Boland expressed his concern that the; “State is not doing enough to ensure that new graduates are given sufficient opportunity to forge a career in their chosen discipline in Ireland over the next five to ten years. Ireland still has one of the fastest growing populations in Europe. It is an ageing population. People are living longer, requiring more and more treatment for more and more co-morbidities in their later lives. This pattern will not change. Your skills will be needed here more than ever before. I hope you can stay with us and help make things better.”
He also called on the future generation of doctors to engage more with the shaping of our health service. Expressing concern that, “Public expectation is being created about radical health service reform which has been inadequately thought through and which has not been costed to any meaningful extent.”
He said; “The concept of Universal Health Insurance is a highly commendable one but its achievement will require a clear roadmap which has been altogether lacking to date. Only with more clarify can the general public truly make an informed decision on whether this reform is both achievable and affordable.
“I would urge all new graduates to inform themselves – it is your generation of health professionals and health consumers who have arguable the biggest stake in a debate of fundamental importance to the health service and the nation.”