IMO responds to HSE Service Plan 2017
Statement by Irish Medical Organisation
IMO criticises HSE Service Plan launched today
Wednesday 14th December 2016. The Irish Medical Organisation has warned that insufficient funds have been put aside for the health budget in the coming year. The warning came after the HSE published its Service Plan for 2017 this morning.
Responding to the Service Plan today, the President of the IMO, Dr. John Duddy, said that the plan would offer no respite from the carousel of hospital overcrowding, increasing waiting lists, vacant consultant posts, emigration of doctors and under-resourced GP services.
Dr. Duddy said; “When the HSE itself starts pre-warning about budget shortages before the Service Plan is produced, you know you are facing a problem. Unfortunately, the HSE warnings are well placed this year and we have no confidence that patients will get the care and attention they deserve or that professionals will get the resources they require to do their jobs effectively.”
Dr. Duddy warned that the key challenges for the service next year would be the overcrowding in public hospitals and the negotiation of a new GP contract. Dr. Duddy expressed disappointment that the Service Plan contained no significant proposals in either area. He said: “Unless and until we address the problems of bed capacity the overcrowding we see in our Emergency Departments will continue, elective surgeries will be cancelled and waiting lists will get longer. While noting the Minister’s comments that some funds are available for a new GP Contract there is absolutely no clarity around this number or even what is to be discussed in terms of any new contract. The vision of moving services from the acute setting to the community setting looks increasingly unlikely.’
Dr. Duddy also warned commentators against arguing that the Health Budget was larger than ever. He said; “everybody recognises that health now demands very significant sums but that is now common across the world. People are living longer and their health needs are more complex. The increase in the health budget is unlikely to meet even this demographic change and has no scope to improve services. Neither patients nor doctors can have much confidence that things will improve. Let’s stop the idle chatter about how much we are spending and start concentrating on how much we need to spend.”