Irish Medical Organisation

IMO says Minister for Health wrong to dismiss impact of cutbacks on current Trolley Crisis.

HSE figures confirm emergency department attendances up by 13% while numbers of beds and home help hours slashed.

Friday 16th January 2015. The Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) has said that the Minister for Health is wrong to dismiss the role of resources in the current Emergency Department Crisis. The Minister told the Dail this week that “if more beds and staff were the solution, it would have been solved a long time ago”.

Speaking today, the President of the IMO, Professor Trevor Duffy, said that cutbacks were at the heart of the current crisis; “Looking at statistics over recent years, you see how significant the role of cutbacks has been:

• Emergency Department attendances rose by 13% between 2008 and 2014.
• The number of acute hospital beds fell by 13% over roughly the same period (between 2007 and 2013).
• Home help hours have reduced by over 18% between 2008 and 2014 and the number of people in receipt of home help was down 10% between 2008 and 2013
• The number of long stay beds also decreased by 9% between 2008 and 2013.
(Sources: DoH and HSE )

Professor Duffy said that as far back as 2005 the IMO recommended:
• Increases in the numbers of acute beds in hospitals
• Properly resourced General Practice as the first step in reducing demand on the health services with direct access for GPs to diagnostic services
• Increased home care packages for older people and increased long stay nursing home accommodation
• Development and implementation of long term funding plans to take account of patient population and their long term needs

Professor Duffy continued; “Instead of these proposals, what has happened is that the services have suffered massively in the recession and successive Governments have taken very harsh measures to cut the number of beds, the resources available to GPs and the type of supports that GPs can offer patients in the community. Inevitably that is leading to increased pressure on our Emergency Departments and the trolley crisis is the latest manifestation of that.”

Finally Professor Duffy said; “There are solutions to this problem but the solutions require resources and the IMO calls on the Government to allocate immediate additional funding to the Department of Health to address this national scandal.”

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