New IMO President calls for ring-fenced budget for health services in any new Programme for Government
Warning of impact of current political instability on health services
Saturday 2nd April 2016. The new President of the Irish Medical Organisation, Dr. John Duddy, has said that any Programme for Government negotiated in the coming weeks must ring-fence a realistic and fair budget for the health services for the coming 5 years. Dr. Duddy was speaking as he began his term of office as President of the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) at the organisation’s AGM in Sligo. Dr. Duddy is a Neurosurgical SPR practicing in Beaumont Hospital in Dublin.
Dr. Duddy strongly criticised the current budget process; “The current budget process for health is simply not credible. Nobody really believes the figures when the budget is announced and within weeks stories are planted about potential overruns and problems. The process has no credibility largely because the figures proposed are insufficient to enable the health services to operate on an appropriate basis.”
Dr. Duddy said that there was significant concern in medical circles at the current political situation. He said; “The recession cutbacks fundamentally damaged our public health services and simultaneously caused a spike in demand for those same services. As a result we are in a continuous state of crisis management. There is an urgent need for investment and leadership if we are to stabilise the system. This will be challenging for any Government but there is a real concern that it will be beyond the scope of what is likely to be an unstable, short-term administration.”
Dr. Duddy highlighted the number of doctors now emigrating as a particularly urgent issue; “there is no greater evidence that our system is failing than the thousands of young, highly qualified and expensively trained doctors are choosing to emigrate rather than work here. Few patients can choose to travel for treatment but many doctors can choose to travel for work and they are doing so in every increasing numbers. This is a real threat to the future of the services here.”
Dr. Duddy criticised recent political commentary whch characterised health as a political problem. He said; “People try to objective health as if it’s some obscure issue that is distant from everyday life when in fact it is everything to do with real life. It’s about people receiving life changing treatments, people on trollies and on endless waiting lists for urgently needed surgery, people in emergency departments desparately waiting for attention and help.”