Budget 2017 - Irish Medical Organisation responds
“At a time when doctors are emigrating in ever greater numbers, this budget will do nothing to encourage them to stay here”
“In summary it’s a budget that is rich on rhetoric but poor on detail.”
“delay in progressing GP Contract Talks is unacceptable and that there is a lack of clarity as to what the Government is committing to in terms of either new patient services or resources.”
Tuesday 11th October 2016. The Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) has expressed “huge” disappointment at provisions for health in the budget announced today. The IMO said that the budget means an increase of just 3.2% in current health spending at a time when the cost of simply standing still are well in excess of that.
The Organisation has also taken issue with the claim, made today by the Minister for Health, that the budget represented the largest amount ever given to health as simply incorrect; the €14 billion announced today is a lower amount than the 2008 health budget. We have seen time and time again how the Department are unable to give clear responses to the health budget and this year is no different.
Speaking today the President of the IMO, Dr. John Duddy said that the organisation’s concerns were focussed in particular on the absence of resources and proposals to tackle the inadequate numbers of consultants and the growing trend of our younger doctors to emigrate; “nothing highlights this more than the fact that our doctors continue to be forced to go to Court to fight their employer for their entitlements.”
Dr. Duddy said that the health services were facing a manpower crisis which this budget has ignored; “while I note the commitment to increasing the number of nurses in the system, a move like this will have little positive impact if we cannot recruit and retain doctors to lead the treatment of patients.”
Dr. Duddy also criticised the failure to provide any extra resources to support GPs in the community; “politicians talk-the-talk about supporting GP Led Primary Care but they don’t walk-the-walk. We’ve heard more rhetoric today about supporting GPs and Primary Care but no funding details to actually support it. If the talks on a GP contract are to be meaningful, we will need reassurance that there are resources in place to support it.”
On capacity, Dr. Duddy criticised the lack of beds in the public hospital sector; “the Minister has spoken today of a Bed Capacity Review. The suspicion must be that this is another delaying tactic because there is no reason not to start restoring some of the 1,600 beds that were taken out of the hospital network over the past decade.”
Dr. Duddy also criticised the spending of public money in private hospitals through the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF); “the Minister has signalled that €70 million is being diverted to the NTPF over the coming years. That money should go to our public hospitals to alleviate problems in them not be diverted to increase the profitability of private sector hospitals.”