Irish Medical Organisation

IMO says former HSE CEO in no position to tell GPs how to run General Practice.

Primary Care can only be successful with a fully functioning and resourced General Practice.

Surprise expressed at conflict of interest given Drumm’s role with major corporate healthcare investment fund.

Wednesday 20th April 2016.   The Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) has said talk of investing in primary care is meaningless without a properly resourced and functioning General Practice. 

Speaking today Dr Tadhg Crowley  of the IMO GP Committee, said “The concept of primary care is well supported by international evidence and indeed the strategy has been in place since 2002, all that has been missing is the resources to enable GPs to lead the development of primary care.” 

In relation to comments from the former HSE CEO, Professor Brendan Drumm Dr Crowley said he (Prof Drumm) is merely reiterating a concept that was approved for implementation when he was head of HSE but with a new twist – take out the element of a publicly funded service run by individual GPs and replace with corporates.  “This kind of corporate model, which is well established in the US, is bad for patients, bad for the taxpayer and will do little to improve health outcomes for our population”  All the evidence shows that when General Practice is properly resourced it can reduce hospitals costs, waiting list and ED attendances as well as improving patient experiences and health outcomes. 

Dr Crowley said that “the IMO and GPs believe strongly in the concept of care in the community and value the skills and work of our colleagues in primary care but without GPs to lead and deliver any primary care strategy is doomed to failure.” 

In respect of Prof Drumm’s position the IMO note:

During Professor Drumm’s tenure as CEO of the HSE little was done to help General Practice.   Dr. Crowley said; “Professor Drumm was CEO of the HSE when resources were relatively plentiful but little was directed to support General Practice."

Professor Drumm is not an impartial witness on health policy.  Dr. Crowley pointed  out that Professor Drumm is described as a Senior Manager of Glencar Healthcare [] which describes itself as “designed to meet the needs of external participants in the specialised healthcare sector, providing top tier advice and consultancy regarding investment in, and management of, healthcare assets” and as was recently reported, has gathered together a fund of €200 million to develop primary care centres. 

Dr. Crowley said many GPs had taken the HSE under Professor Drumm at its word in respect of investing in Primary Care Centres and are now left liable for huge levels of personal debt because the promised financial support did not materialise; “many GPs feel very strongly that the HSE under Professor Drumm encouraged them to taken on risk that they could ill-afford.  The idea that this individual would now seek to lecture GPs on the rights and wrongs of healthcare policy is difficult to understand.”

Dr. Crowley also warned that Professor Drumm’s analysis would encourage private investment in healthcare which was much less desirable than the State facing its responsibilities for public healthcare and providing adequate resources for same.  He said; “in the IMO we are focused on trying to get increased publicly funded resources for healthcare not acting as cheerleaders for private sector commercial interests to build primary care centres without giving GPs the financial resources to do their job.  We need to resource the GP not the building. ”

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