IMO calls for sustained investment programme to increase hospital capacity
Rising patient numbers on hospital waiting lists
Friday 20th February 2015. The IMO has said that the rising number of patients on hospital waiting lists would only be countered by a significant investment in hospital capacity and increased beds. The President of the IMO, Professor Trevor Duffy, was responding to the news today that there are now over 76,000 people on waiting lists for inpatient, day case or gastrointestinal procedures – up 28% on the figure a year ago.
Professor Duffy also challenged the Taoiseach who has argued recently that money was not the problem in the Irish Health Services. Professor Duffy said that the lack of money was a key part of the problem in the Irish health services and providing additional financial resources had to be a key part of the solution; “its clichéd for politicians to say that our health service problems are structural not financial. The cuts in health budgets over successive years have had a direct, negative impact on the quality of services which our system now provides. The cuts in the numbers of acute hospital beds, nursing home beds, rehab facilities and in resources for General Practice are all financial cuts and the response has to include providing additional financial resources.”
Professor Duffy also warned that the practice of cancelling elective surgeries as a response to pressure on emergency departments was self-defeating. He said; “elective surgery is typically the cure to the problem that caused the visit to the Emergency Department in the first place. You cancel the elective surgery and you simply ensure that the patient will potentially have to re-present at the Emergency Department. It’s worse than robbing Peter to pay Paul…it’s like robbing Paul to pay Paul.”