Put Health First
Irish Medical Organisation

IMO warns incoming Government facing unprecedented crisis in public health services

IMO President says rescuing health services is as big a challenge for the next Government as the financial crisis that faced the last Government

IMO calls on voters to consider Health as a priority - we must Invest, Increase and Improve 

Thursday 11th February 2016.  The Irish Medical Organisation has warned that the incoming Government will face an unprecedented crisis in public health services which will require a significant, immediate and sustained investment in public health services as a matter of urgency.  The comments were made by the President of the IMO, Dr Ray Walley, who was speaking at a special IMO briefing on the health services in the context of the general election.  The IMO is calling for voters and politicians to put HEALTH FIRST with a key message to Invest, Increase and Improve.

INVEST: Commit to realistic health funding

INCREASE: Numbers of beds, services and doctors

IMPROVE: Patient experiences and health outcomes

Dr Walley said that the health crisis that was facing the incoming Government was comparable to the financial and economic crisis facing the last Government when it took office; “our familiarity with the problems in our health services have blinded us to how serious the issues have become.  Dr Walley warned that years of cutbacks in essential services, a manpower crisis fuelled by record emigration of Irish trained doctors and a 10 year long “national emergency” in our Emergency Departments had left the public health services perilously close to collapse and in urgent need of emergency attention.

Dr Walley said that it was indisputable that services are restricted, patients are suffering unnecessarily, health conditions are deteriorating and the crisis is deepening; “this is the biggest challenge facing Ireland now and in the years ahead.  Five years ago we moved heaven and earth to rescue failed Irish banks; surely we can now do the same to rescue the Irish health service on which all of us ultimately depend.”

The Irish Medical Organisation has also called on all the political parties to abstain from irrational politically motivated reforms and to concentrate instead on stabilising and supporting what is a very fragile public health service.  The crisis in our public health service is system wide across hospitals, general practice and community services and we must have a system wide approach to deal with it.” 

Dr Walley said; “Successive Governments have invested scarce resources in pursuing politically motivated cul-de-sacs such as Co-Location, Free GP care and Universal Health Insurance even while the basic infrastructure of our health service was collapsing around their ears.   What we need now is an immediate investment programme, followed by a period of sustained funding so that we can repair the damage that has been done to our health services in recent years and plan for the future health challenges we face so that we can deliver a health service that works.”

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