Irish Medical Organisation

IMO in major criticism of FF/FG Agreement.

“This document shows that the two largest parties have neither the will nor the ideas to fix the health services"

Wednesday 4th May 2016.  The Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) has strongly criticised the deal reached between Fianna Fail and Fine Gael on arrangements for a new Government. 

The IMO described the document as a major disappointment in respect of Health which was the key priority for the citizens of Ireland during the election campaign. The IMO said it confirms that the two largest parties in the State have neither the will nor the ideas to fix our health services.

Among the key criticisms of the FF/FG document by the IMO are:

Health is not even given its own section within the agreement.  The few commitments made on health are scattered piece-meal through the document.  This is in sharp contrast to issues like the Economy, Crime, Pay and, of course, Water.

Unbelievably, the critical issue of mental health is dealt with in the section that comes under the heading “Crime and Community Services”.  A Vision for Change was published a decade ago, however its recommendations have been almost completely ignored by successive governments.  The mental health services currently operate with fewer employees than when A Vision for Change was published.

The section dealing with multi-annual budgeting for health comes under the “Economy” section and makes no reference to the urgent need for a quantum leap in the budget for the health services.  Its call for realistic five year projections on health spending by the HSE is almost laughable given the failure in this regard in respect of annual projections so far.

The paltry sum of €15m is reserved to tackle waiting lists and does nothing more than prop up the two tier health system with public funding being used to purchase services in the private healthcare environment.  This policy failed in the past and will continue to fail as there is no plan to invest in building capacity in the public system.

Following a lot of rhetoric during the election campaign on the importance of General Practice and Primary Care there is no mention of delivering an expanded range of services at GP level which is better for patients and better for the taxpayer.

The IMO says that the new Government seems happy to preside over a failing health service and is targeting little by way of increasing resources to the health services and improving outcomes for patients; the most shocking element of this document is the lack of vision it reflects for what is one of the most important areas of public policy in the country.  Every citizen relies directly or indirectly on our publicly funded health services.   Every family knows of someone on a waiting list for treatment or stuck on a trolley in Emergency Departments.  The two parties are saying with this document that our public health services are not important.

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