IMO Responds to Minister’s Sláintecare Implementation Plan
Wednesday 8th August 2018. The President of the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) has responded to the launch this morning of an implementation plan for Sláintecare by the Minister for Health.
Dr. Peadar Gilligan, President of the IMO said that while it is welcome to have a plan for the development of our health services there is a danger that this is just another aspirational document unless and until significant resources are allocated immediately. “We have huge capacity problems in our health service today and what we need is urgent and sustained investment to counteract the damage done by years of budget cuts and there is no detail on how or at what pace the Government plan to invest.”
Dr. Gilligan said that the elephant in the room was resources; “The Minister has acknowledged the need for additional resources but the quantum of resources that is needed is far from agreed. We have an urgent, immediate demand for additional resources just to deal with crisis situations in our current services; a drastic shortage of hospital beds, one million people on waiting lists, 500 unfilled Consultant Posts, GP surgeries closed to new patients and no GPs taking up new posts in the community, a recruitment and retention crisis amongst doctors everywhere. We believe that the focus must be on stabilising the current system by injecting desperately needed resources before we try to introduce further reforms.”
Dr. Gilligan also warned about some aspects of the plan including commissioning elective only hospitals when our existing public hospitals are starved of cash and moving to force private patients out of public hospitals which will leave the public hospital sector with a massive shortfall in resources.
Finally Dr. Gilligan said that the reality was that for many people in urgent need of treatment now, Sláintecare would mean little or nothing at all; “we are dealing with a system in crisis which needs urgent, substantial additional resources simply to be stabilised. The sad reality is that a document without resource commitment will not transform our health services or radically address the crisis facing patients and healthcare professionals every day."