IMO warns that cycle of cuts to health services is set to continue under HSE Service Plan
Wednesday 16th December 2015. The Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) has warned that the cycle of cuts to health services is set to continue next year under the HSE Service Plan. Both the HSE and the Department of Health acknowledge that the funding is insufficient. There are shortfalls in a number of areas and policy changes may be required to ensure spending does not exceed funding.
Speaking today Dr Ray Walley said “the farcical swapping and changing around medical card numbers for next year is not only insulting to medical card patients but highlights the chaotic manner in which this service plan is being announced and there must be a real concern now that we will see more efforts to cull medical card numbers by stealth next year as this government previously tried to do. In plain English this effectively means that not enough funds have been allocated to meet current demand, let alone cope with any increased demand and the cycle of cuts and crisis in our health services will continue.”
The IMO believes that patients will be directly affected by a reduction of services as doctors and other healthcare professionals will have to continue to work in under resourced environments where it is becoming more and more difficult to adequately manage and treat patients appropriately.
Dr Walley said “Far from moving away from the days of austerity this service plan firmly entrenches the idea that further cuts are inevitable. We have the CEO of the HSE acknowledging yet again the inadequate levels of funding, a Minister who supports the CEO but who is actually making the funding decisions? It appears the health service is effectively being dictated by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. The Irish people are fully aware of the financial situation of the country but it is time to be honest about the lack of a properly funded public health service. What has happened in the past four years of cutbacks continues to happen and no effort has been made to invest in the future health needs of our population. This service plan will ensure that any doctor thinking about emigrating will book their flights now and there is no possibility that suitably qualified doctors will return from abroad to work in a chaotic system. At the end of all this politicians can congratulate themselves on reducing the cost of vital public service but at what cost to our nation’s health and particularly to those who rely completely on our public health service? ”
This service plan is bad for patients, imposes further pressures on doctors in terms of managing the needs of patients and is detrimental to any reform of or development in our public health services.