Irish Medical Organisation

IMO accuses HSE of engaging in “elderly abuse” through Waiting List massaging.

Unanswerable demand now for substantial increase in health budget.

Monday 6th October 2014. The IMO has accused the HSE of elderly abuse through the practice of writing to patients on waiting lists (the majority of which are elderly) and requiring them to recommit to the waiting list or lose their place. This practice was one of a number of such practices used by the HSE to massage waiting lists which have been highlighted in recent days.

Speaking today Prof Trevor Duffy, IMO President said that the HSE should be ashamed of itself for engaging in such dubious practices; “the HSE has serious questions to answer not just in their management of the health services but now in respect of their management of individual patients, often in stressful and difficult situations.” Prof Duffy said that the IMO wrote to the HSE 12 months ago to challenge them on the practice of writing directly to patients about waiting lists; “this is not a new development, it has been ongoing now for at least a year and the HSE seems to have no intention of ceasing it despite the upset and risk it poses for elderly patients. We should not be too surprised given the outright attack on patients during the medical card cull.”

Prof Duffy said that the current revelations on Waiting Lists highlighted once again the need for a significant increase in the Health Services Budget next week; “The catalogue of problems now emerging are all linked to the shortage of essential funds in the health services which are struggling to cope with increased demands. The situation is complicated by the fact that health services are so far over budget as it is which means that to move beyond the current failing system, we need a substantial budget increase that will enable the necessary investment in resources across the system.”

Dr. Ray Walley, Chairman of the GP Committee of the IMO warned in particular about the practice of referring patients on waiting lists back to General Practice. He said; “General Practice is on its knees and simply will not be able to deal with increased demand. The official policy at the moment seems to be to move patients around the system in the full knowledge that there are no resources to deal with them. It’s an appalling way to manage vulnerable people and we have to stop it now. IMO GPs have been calling for a planned and resourced introduction of Chronic Care to General Practice but we have yet to see any real resources attaching to unrealistic promises by politicians and the HSE”


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