Irish Medical Organisation

Pre-AGM Press Conference: Call on Government to 'Health Proof' future policy


Government and policy decision makers are likely to come under fire at this year’s  IMO Annual General Meeting in Killarney, Co. Kerry which takes place from Thursday, 12th – 14th April 2012..

Doctors from all specialties within the medical profession will attend the conference to discuss and debate a range of factors that prevents access to our health service from being efficient, effective and properly planned within our country.
IMO President, Dr. Ronan Boland said; “The theme of our conference is Our Patients - Our Priority and one of the pivotal issues is inequality.  Ireland has significant levels of health inequalities. Throughout the boom years of the ‘Celtic Tiger’, these inequalities were evident and since the recession, these inequalities appear to be worsening.”  
“Improving the health of all our citizens, particularly the poorest and most deprived, will reap long-term dividends by ensuring a healthier population, and more productive workforce, who will have less need for expensive health interventions and social economic supports.”
Launching the IMO’s Position Paper on Health Inequality at the Pre AGM Press Conference today the IMO are calling on the Government and the Minister for Health & Children, Dr. James Reilly to ensure that health inequalities are addressed in a holistic manner.  
Dr. Boland said; “Government policies should be “health-proofed” through the use of Health Impact Assessments to ensure that all policies are engineered in such a way to have the maximal health benefit for as large a proportion of the population as possible.”
The IMO will further investigate health inequalities at the first of two Scientific Seminars at the forthcoming AGM.  The seminar titled “Bridging the Divide – Addressing Inequalities in Health” will be addressed by guest speakers;  Mr. Owen Metcalfe, Director of the Institute of Public Health in Ireland who will examine the relationship between health and wealth, outlining the cost to the economy and society of health inequalities and the rationale for addressing them.  Dr. Meri Koivusalo, Senior Researcher at the National Institute for Health and Welfare Finland will discuss policy measures that have been taken to bridge the health divide in Finland and Incoming IMO President, Dr. Paul McKeown will investigate ‘Just how unequal are we and why?’
Alarming statistics of childhood obesity in addition to alcohol and drug misuse amongst our children is the focus for the second scientific seminar.  This seminar will discuss the current and future health implications of obesity and alcohol and drug misuse and what interventions are urgently need to protect our children.
“Obesity – A Problem that’s just getting bigger”,  is the title of Prof. Edna Roche, Associate Professor and Health of Department of Paediatrics, TCD, and Consultant Paediatric Endocrinologist National Children’s Hospital , AMNCH.  Prof. Roche will look at the growing problem of Childhood obesity in Ireland, the contributing factors and the long-term implications on the health of the child.
Dr. Bobby Smyth, Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, will examine the harmful use of drug and alcohol amongst adolescents and the social and psychological factor that influence their behaviour.  Dr. Colette Kelly, Lecturer in Health Promotion, NUI Galway and Senior Researcher, Health Behaviour in School-aged Children will look at the Social Interventions needed to address unhealthy behaviour in children and adolescents.
Doctors will also hear a debate from two speakers on the following topic: ‘This house believes that the market model of healthcare is not the best option for Ireland.’ From this debate, doctors will be presented with both sides of the argument for them to critically analyze the pros and cons of each approach and to be informed about a topic that is set to shape the healthcare system over the coming years.
The three day event will which will be attended by doctors across all specialities in medicine will debate over 150 motions addressing a wide range of topics such as Universal Health Insurance, Mental Health, Child Health, Care of the Elderly, Road Safety, Alcohol & Tobacco, Manpower planning and Budget Cuts.  Motions that are passed are adopted as policy of the organisation.

Members of the media are invited to attend the Annual General Meeting and should contact Maria Murphy or Louise Canavan in IMO House tel: 01 6767 273/email  or  Further conference details are available here.
For further information contact:
Maria Murphy, Director of Communications

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