Irish Medical Organisation

Universal Health Care: RTE 1 - Primetime (29th March 2011)

Universal Health Care

29th March 2011

The question of Universal Health Care was featured on RTE 1’s Primetime programme on Tuesday 29th of March. Both Prof. Seán Tierney, IMO President and Dr Ronan Boland, Vice-President were interviewed for this feature which showed the experience in the Netherlands where a Universal Healthcare system has been in place since 2006. Prof Tierney said that while the Irish Medical Organisation supports universal healthcare, there are concerns about who is controlling the money.

“I think the danger with having the whole thing around money is that it then drives activity, you know, so you get procedures being done on patients because money will come with the new procedures, there’s a fundamental conflict between profit based insurance companies and delivering care that’s patient-centred.”

Dr Ronan Boland said the IMO welcomed plans to complete the primary care programme and the move to universal healthcare.

“The day that I have a patient sitting in front of me who needs to access services in the hospital sector that I don’t have to ask the awkward question “do you have health insurance or not”, for example that I have an elderly patient who requires a hip replacement, if that patient has private health insurance she can probably have her operation from a range of providers within a couple of months, if she’s a public patient she’ll wait at least two years even to see an orthopaedic surgeon.” 

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