IMO criticises “meaningless” Government promises on health reform
Sunday 2nd March 2014. The Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) has strongly criticised the continued failure of the Government to publish the White Paper for Universal Healthcare. Promises are being made by politicians to the public that simply cannot be delivered, it is apparent that even within Government there is strong opposition to the proposals and the plans are in disarray.
Comments from the Taoiseach and Minister for Health this weekend are a cause of concern to the IMO as it appears that the Government is intent on an insurance model which will lead to turning healthcare into a commodity not a service and on in which insurance companies will be making decisions based solely on profit, not on patient care. It is only the wealthier that will benefit in a system where there is a standard basket of healthcare with added benefits being available for purchase by those who can afford it. This is nothing more than an continuation of a two tier healthcare system which will disadvantage the poorest and the sickest.
The Minister for Health continues to promise so called "Free GP Care" to the total population by 2016 yet he has presided over €160m cuts in resources to General Practice over the last 4 years while at the same time the public patients being cared for in General Practice increased by 400,000. Dr. Ray Walley, Chairman of the GP Committee of the IMO said "the repeated promises by Government on free services is meaningless when there are no plans, no resources and no negotiations. It is disingenuous of Government to suggest that doctors are resistant to change, nothing could be further from the truth, doctors are crying out for change but change that is properly resourced so that quality care can be delivered."
The IMO support a Universal Healthcare system that truly delivers in terms of equity and quality care