IMO warns health services need additional funds to stabilise the service and meet patient demands.
Any further cuts will lead to a real crisis in terms of patient safety and health outcomes.
Friday 12th September 2014. The Irish Medical Organisation has warned that health services will not be able to cope with patient demand if sufficient funds are not made available.
The IMO was responding to reports today of the effects of further cuts which will be potential wide scale bed closures in Irish hospitals, increased waiting lists and issues for the safety of patients. Speaking today Professor Trevor Duffy, President of the IMO warned that the outlook for the health services was increasingly bleak and that inter-governmental disputes about the services were contributing to a growing crisis of confidence both for patients and doctors.
Professor Duffy said; “Our public health services have been starved of adequate funding at a time when there is increasing demands and an ageing population. We have been warning for many years that the situation is simply not sustainable. The political squabbles which now surround the health services are causing huge anxiety and worry amongst patients and front line staff. There is a real sense of policy drift and concern that sufficient resources will not be made available to deal with demand levels and to ensure health professionals are treating patients in a safe way. Patient safety is a real issue and if further cuts are imposed on the health services in the coming months, they will be the tipping point in terms of further deterioration of services for patients. We are already seeing longer waiting lists, inadequate community support and a GP service that is unable to cope”
The IMO has also taken issue with reports from the HSE that GP numbers had remained stable in recent years. The figures are completely misleading and an attempt to confuse debate on the issue; Dr. Ray Walley, Chairman of the GP Committee of the IMO said “Over 150 new GPs qualify each year yet we are seeing no increase in the numbers of GPs practicing here. That means simply that our newly qualified GPs are leaving this country to work abroad as we warned they would. The Government and Department are burying their heads in the sand about the real problem of GP manpower, just like they did when we first saw our younger doctors choosing to leave Ireland. Now we have doctors from every specialty and at every career stage choosing to work in health systems abroad which are properly resourced .”
The IMO will be presenting its Budget Submission 2015 and Priorities for Health at a special briefing for TDs and Senators on Thursday 18th September.