Irish Medical Organisation

Health Services Stuck in Crisis Management - IMO Chief Executive

13th April 2012

Highlights from the speech of the IMO Chief Executive, AGM 2012.

A Government is elected to solve problems not to hide behind them, IMO Chief Executive, George McNeice told members of the IMO attending their Annual General Meeting today in Killarney.
Delivering his keynote speech, GeorgeMcNeice said; “It’s simply not good enough for the Government to keep harping on about the country’s challenges or who was responsible for creating them.  The optimism and enthusiasm of a year ago has all but disappeared and the overriding impression now is of how little has changed since the new Government came into power, not how much.”
He said; “This organisation doesn’t need lectures on how serious our financial crisis is.  Our members deal with it every day of the week.  Our members see the misery and stress faced by those who have lost their jobs or who live in fear of losing them.”
“There is little confidence that the right progress is being made.  Nor is there evidence of any significant change in the attitude of those running the Department and the HSE.”
He said; “These two bodies continue to bury their heads in the sand in terms of the manpower crisis, drag their heels when it comes to implementing agreements and continuously pick fights with individual doctors in different specialities wasting their own time, the doctor’s time and our organisation’s time as we get them to do what they should have done themselves in the first place.”
“The Government was elected on a platform of change but has repeatedly opted for the status quo, of course the loser in that situation is the patient.”
The theme of the conference is Our Patients – Our Priorityreflecting the fact that it is the plight of patients which is uppermost in our minds.
Mr.McNeice said; “The IMO has consistently advocated for reform in our health services, not as an end in itself but, as a means to improving the experience and the quality of life of patients across the community.”
“The patient experience still leaves much to be desired.  A two tier health service where neither tier now commands much respect and both tiers appear to be in danger of collapse. Delays for procedures and treatments which could transform lives and empower people; inefficiencies leading to stress and pain and perhaps most cynically, roadblocks put in the way of those seeking their legitimate entitlements and reliefs.”
The IMO believes that in the face of this chaos and mismanagement, it becomes even more important that we remain consistent, realistic and resolute and we will continue to do so.  We understand that reform is necessary and inevitable.  The status quo is simply not an option.
Mr.McNeice said; “We also understand, perhaps better than other players in this area, that the only reforms that will work are ones in which doctors and other health professionals are treated as partners with the respect and honesty which partners deserve.”
“Over recent years we have given much thought to what key principles should underpin any reform proposals for the health services and our confidence in those principles has not wavered.”

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