Irish Medical Organisation

Doctors Proud of Quality of Service Consistently Delivered for their Patients- IMO President

14th April


Doctors are rightfully proud of the quality of service they consistently provide to their patients.  But given the taxing times in which we live, maintaining the quality of that service is, and will become, increasingly challenging, IMO President, Dr. Paul McKeown, told members attending his inaugural address at the IMO AGM in Killarney.

Dr.McKeown said; “As a result of political improvidence, poor management and a deluded belief that we were in a period of plenty that could never end, we have arrived at a situation where we have ceded a considerable amount of economic, and as a result, social and even legal, sovereignty to others.”

“During the ‘Tiger’ years, the massive increase in public expenditure did not translate into a proportionate increase in the quantity of our public services.  In health, there was massive reorganisation but without an equivalent improvement in the efficiency of running the Service.” 

He said, “Reduced funding leads to a reduction in the numbers of front-line medical staff and, significantly, in the support staff necessary to ensure that front-line staff are freed up to concentrate solely on medical activities rather than being diverted into administrative and other support work actions, work that is necessary but deflects and distracts from direct patient care.

“The IMO is signally in favour of a single tier system based on the medical needs of patients rather than their ability to pay.  To date, we have not seen any plan for the Government’s proposed system of Universal Health Insurance and there are numerous models from which to choose.”

“The IMO has called for a public debate about the development of a fair, one tiered system ensuring adequate stakeholder involvement, access to detailed plans and funding mechanisms, stringent analysis of current and future manpower resources and a realistic timetable for implementation.

Addressing arguments frequently put forward that the remuneration of medical practitioners in the public sector is too generous. Dr.McKeown said; “The fact is using recent OECD comparative data, Ireland is not among the top six countries of the OECD, which have the most highly remunerated specialists.”

He said; “Medical specialists, General Practitioners, Community Doctors and Non-Consultant Hospital Doctors have taken their public sector pay cuts along with the rest of the public sector prepared to do what is necessary to see our country returned to financial health, but the load must be shared equally and calculations based upon fact and not on inaccurate or incomplete data.”

Read Dr McKeown's speech in full

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