Irish Medical Organisation

IMO Response to HIQA Report

HIQA Report confirms that Irish Health Services inadequately supported to meet the needs of patients and support those seeking to provide care.


Immediate need for increased number of hospital beds and recruitment of over 2,000 hospital specialists and increased supports to develop General Practice


Need to have in place systems that encourage and support our trainees to stay or return to Ireland


Tuesday 10th August 2021.  The HIQA report on the Irish health services published today confirms the longstanding view of the IMO that the health services in Ireland are operating at dangerous levels of capacity and there is a crisis in medical manpower.  Dr. Ina Kelly, President of the IMO warned that Doctors are now looking ahead to the Winter with a sense of despair and foreboding.

The problems identified by HIQA are not a result of the pandemic – these problems beset our services long before COVID which has only served to expose the system deficits which have led to ever increasing waiting lists, inadequate access to timely care, increasing pressures on doctors seeking to provide care in General Practice, in the community and in our acute settings. 

The health service will continue to fail to meet the realistic expectations and demands of the Irish public unless significant and long-term action is taken to address:

  • Government policy which has left the health services understaffed and which has increased the length of waiting lists for patients – we urgently need 2,000 medical specialists across our acute hospital and psychiatry services.  We also need up to 1,660 additional GPs along with a sustainable career pathway for General Practice.
  • The shortage of hospital beds - we urgently need a further 5,000 beds.  Focussing on the minimum requirements of the Health Capacity Review are clearly insufficient.
  • The lack of supports in General Practice as there are too few GPs to meet patient demand that is growing exponentially particularly as patients cannot access hospital care in a timely manner.   

Dr. Kelly said that the HIQA report (Healthcare Overview Report 2020) would be a damning indictment in normal times; “the report details the long-term damage caused by under investment and poor policy decisions.  Tragically these problems have been ongoing for so long that public has learnt to accept the unacceptable when it comes to waiting lists and access to timely care.  This is not something we can or should accept and as Government now considers measures for the budget, we need to see a significant ramping up of sustainable investment in our services that will deliver timely patient care in a system that is well resourced and properly staffed.”

“People must understand that this level of structural failure in the health services is neither necessary nor acceptable and must be addressed.  Doctors around the country are naturally very concerned about the level of demand for care and what the winter will bring.  We cannot continue to treat and react to healthcare spending in a crisis mode and must make significant, sustainable investment now and for the years ahead.  We have seen how dependent our nation is on a properly functioning health service – if we do not address this now when will we?”

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