Budget 2019 must be one that delivers necessary investment across the health service, doctors have warned.
Significant investment is needed across the health system if we are to safely meet future healthcare needs
The Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) today submitted its submission for the Budget, calling on the government to make significant investment in the health service.
The IMO says that the Department of Health’s own Health Service Capacity Review highlights the need for additional investment across the service.
Dr Peadar Gilligan, President of the IMO, said that unless Budget 2019 increases the allocation to Health to sufficiently meet demand ,it will in reality be a further cut to the health service.
“If you make healthcare cuts and tell the population it won't affect patient care, you're lying,” Dr Gilligan said.
“Budget 2019 is an opportunity to invest in and future-proof our health service. That is an opportunity which must be taken.”
The IMO submission calls for three key investments to be made in next month’s Budget.
• An investment in General Practice and Care in the Community
The IMO is calling on the Department of Health and the HSE to agree a strategy with the IMO for the development of General Practice and GP-led care in the community over the coming decade accompanied by a multi-annual expenditure plan. Priority in year one should be given to the reversal of FEMPI cuts, supports for chronic illness management and investment in a transition to GP-led care in the community
• Addressing unsafe levels of occupancy
The IMO is calling for the immediate provision of 1,260 acute hospital beds to restore bed capacity to safer levels, these beds need to be accompanied by the appropriate staffing and resources.
• Capital investment
The Government should develop and finance a detailed Capital investment plan based on the recommendations of the Health Service Capacity Review. This should include a substantial increase in acute beds, the construction of stand-alone public hospitals for elective, ambulatory and diagnostic care and Investment in 10,500 long-term residential care beds and 600 short-term rehabilitation beds for the elderly and those requiring rehabilitation.
The submission also recommends:
• Investment in Prevention/ Health and Well-being
• Investment in Community-Based Services for the Elderly
• An urgent investment in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS)
Dr Gilligan added that a realistic plan to recruit and retain doctors must form part of this year’s Budget, which is the submission’s final recommendation.
“Significant investment must be made in the recruitment and retention of our medical workforce to ensure that the Irish health services are fully staffed with appropriately qualified and experienced medical professionals.
“This means a reversal of the discrimination suffered by consultants since 2012, honouring the contracts which doctors have entered into, and the negotiation with the IMO on new contacts for doctors.
“These contracts must feature competitive terms and conditions to protect the health service from losing qualified, capable staff to other English-speaking countries.”