IMO Launches 2020 Vision for Health
Irish Medical Organisation

IMO Launches 2020 Vision for Health


2020 Vision for Health

  • IMO seeks to keep health services center-stage at next election
  • Unveils new policy document with key health priorities for next election
  • IMO President: “Our Doctors are emigrating in record numbers. Waiting lists are at record levels. Key services are under-resourced and patients are at the end of their tether. The next Government must put health at the heart of its Programme for Government or the damage now done may become irreparable.”

The Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) has launched a campaign to ensure that the future of the health services is center-stage during the next election and in the formation of the next Government. The organisation has today launched a major policy document [2020 Vision for Health] which sets out key policies that the organisation believes are key to rebuilding the health services after years of cutbacks.

Speaking at the launch today, Professor Duffy said; “Our Doctors are emigrating in record numbers. Waiting lists are at record levels. Services are under-resourced and patients are at the end of their tether. The next Government must put health at the heart of its Programme for Government or the damage now being done may become irreparable.”

The IMO policy document covers six key areas including:

  • Universal Healthcare
  • Financial, Capacity and Manpower planning
  • Patient Safety and Quality of Care
  • Mental Health
  • Health in all-policies
  • Protecting the Doctor-Patient Relationship

Professor Duffy outlined some of the damage inflicted on the health services during recent years. He said:

  • The HSE budget was cut by €4 billion (27%) between 2008 and 2014.
  • Staffing levels were cut by the equivalent of almost 13,000 full time staff since 2007 – 11% of the staff number.
  • 1,631 acute hospital beds were closed since 2007 -13% of the numbers we started with then.
  • The number of long-stay beds was cut by 2,185 between 2008 and 2013 – that’s 9% less than the number we started with.
  • GPs are treating an extra 500,000 medical and GP visit card holders at the same time as their funding has been cut by €160 million.
  • And the number of home help hours has been cut by 2.3 million between 2008 and 2014….that is the equivalent of 95,833 24 hour days.
  • The population of people over 70 years of age has increased by 20% since 2006.

Professor Duffy said that the failure of current policies was highlight by the exodus of Irish trained doctors from across the services. He said; “the unprecedented numbers of highly qualified doctors now emigrating testifies to the failure of our current health policies. We have a crisis of morale which we must address because without a permanent, highly skilled workforce of medical professionals, we will never rebuild our health services.”

Key elements of the 2020 document are:
Universal Healthcare
Universal Healthcare is not Universal Health Insurance….Universal Healthcare is a policy commitment to a system of healthcare that secures access to adequate, quality healthcare for everyone when they need it and at an affordable cost to them.
Financial, Capacity and Manpower Planning
Calling for a five-year plan to address financial, capacity and manpower issues in the Irish healthcare system including:

  • A comprehensive assessment and costing of the level of services and capacity required across the health system.
  • A commitment to ring fence the funding requited to meet the service, capacity and manpower requirements identified.

Patient Safety and Quality of Care

  • Ensure all clinical services operate with sufficient minimum financial and manpower resources necessary to provide safe, quality, evidence-based care.
  • Ensure all healthcare facilities are adequately resourced to meet and exceed HIQA standards of care.
  • Invest in Information and Communication Technology, particularly electronic health records, to improve patient safety and eliminate duplication across services.
  • Encourage and support innovative patient safety initiatives and reform the medical negligence system.

Putting Mental Health on a Par with Physical Health
Put mental health on a parity with physical health through

  • Investment in evidence-based programmes to reduce stigma and raise awareness about mental health issues and suicide prevention.
  • Access to publicly funded counselling and psychotherapy services on GP referral.
  • Investment and development of community and specialist mental health teams.
  • Transparent allocation of resources based on population need.

Health in All-Policies
The IMO is calling on all parties to adopt a Health-in-All-Policies approach and commit to the Goals of Healthy Ireland – A Framework for Improved Health and Wellbeing 2013-2025 specifically to:

Develop a detailed implementation plan the key proposals in this document with appropriate multi-annual ring-fenced funding to support actions and initiatives

  • Ensure that all policy decisions across all Government Departments are subject to a health impact assessment

Protecting the Doctor-Patient Relationship Ensuring that our healthcare system protects the doctor-patient relationship by

  • Respecting clinical autonomy and ensuring the doctor-patient relationship is free of interference from commercial or political interests
  • Continuing to foster a culture of trust in the medical profession
  • Ensuring policy decisions affecting the delivery of healthcare in Ireland are evidence –based and made in partnership with the medical profession

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