Irish Medical Organisation

IMO Pre Budget Submission

Wednesday 24th October 2012


The Irish Medical Organisation is calling for a renewed focus and investment in child health promotion and services.

Publishing the IMO Pre Budget Submission [PBS] 2013, IMO President, Dr. Paul McKeown said; “The health of our children is vital to the social and economic growth of our country.  There are many reasons for investing in the health of our children from antenatal health through to teenage years.”

While focusing on Child Health in the IMO Pre-Budget Submission the IMO identified the need to develop further a detailed IMO Position Paper on Child Health which was also published today.

Within the Pre Budget Submission 2012 the focus on child health was on the following:

  • Early Childhood Development
  • Childhood Obesity
  • Adolescent Health
  • Suicide and Self-harm in Adolescents

Dr. McKeown, said; “Many lifelong illnesses and disabilities originate in early childhood.  Ensuring that children have the healthiest start in life provides the basis for good health in adulthood, that children will attend school, earn higher income as adults and be less dependent on welfare support.”

He said; “Ensuring optimal health and well-being in the early years has benefits which accrue throughout the life cycle and are as important as early education in securing a level playing field for children in terms of opportunities to achieve their potential.”

“It is vital to ensure that a system is in place that guarantees all children the best possible start in life, and ensures that they all receive appropriate early intervention so as to mitigate the impact of a delay or abnormality as early as possible.  If this doesn’t happen, the costs to the HSE and society are considerable,” said Dr. McKeown.

“Obesity is one of the most serious public health challenges affecting children of all ages with major implications for health and health services into the future.  Recent data shows that 1 in 4 children in Ireland are overweight or obese, with rates of overweight and obesity higher among children, particularly girls, from less socio-economically advantaged households.”

“The IMO is recommending that the HSE work with the Department of Health and Department of Children and Youth Affairs to put in place an urgent comprehensive multidisciplinary programme to tackle childhood obesity including education programmes for parents and children.”

Addressing Suicide and Self-harm in Ireland, Dr. McKeown said; While suicide is a rare event in young people, it ranks as a major cause of death because very few young people die from other causes.  In Ireland suicide rates are highest among young men and rates of self-reported harm are highest among young females. 

He said; “Provisional data from 2011 show 95 young people aged 15-24 died by suicide of which 80 were male.  In 2010 there were 1,089 recorded presentations of self-harm by young people aged 10-17 years of which two thirds were by females.”

“A range of population measures and targeted interventions can impact positively on mental health and help-seeking among young people.  A recent UK study found that the provision of adequate community mental health services, in particular the provision of 24 hour crisis care, is associated with a reduction in suicide rates, with the biggest falls in deprived catchment areas.”

Dr. McKeown said; Evidence shows that significant inequalities in health exist between children of different socio-economic classes.  A person’s health is not simply an accident of birth, but rather the result of exposure to a series of modifiable risks.

Policy choices implemented by all Government Departments can significantly impact on an individual’s health thus action across all key government sectors is needed.  In addition to a focus on early childhood development, a Health-in-All-Policies approach and equal access to primary care play a significant role in reducing inequalities in health.”

The IMO Pre-Budget Submission 2013 also highlighted the issues that need to be addressed to achieve an Integrated System of primary and hospital Care.


IMO Pre Budget Submission 2013

IMO Position Paper on Child Health October 2012

For further information contact:

Maria Murphy

Director of Communications & Public Affairs

Irish Medical Organisation

Tel. 01 6767 273





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