Winter Plan inadequate to meet the challenges of this time
Monday 15th November 2021. The Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) has warned that hospitals and GPs are facing a traumatic Winter and that the Winter Plan launched today is “inadequate” to meet the challenges we face.
Dr. Ina Kelly, President of the IMO, said; “This plan was launched at a time when we have only 21 ICU beds available in the country. Every doctor and healthcare worker is working beyond capacity right now and it is untenable that they are being asked to face into a Winter with insufficient support.”
Dr. Kelly continued; “Covid has exposed the long-term cost of failing to invest in our health services. Our only response now seems to be to try to force more work out of our exhausted doctors. We have 700 vacant consultant posts meaning huge extra pressure on those consultants we do have. We have NCHDs working excessive and illegal hours putting them under enormous strain, and we have GP services facing unprecedented demand from patients. The capacity is simply not there to meet demand and it is not all COVID related.”
Dr. Kelly said that the root causes of the Irish health crisis remained bed numbers and manpower. She said, “The Winter Plan is like using a sticking plaster to cover a gaping wound. Our health services remain crippled by a lack of bed capacity on the one hand and a lack of doctors and other healthcare professionals on the other and until we fix these two problems, we will forever be trying to prevent a crisis becoming a catastrophe.”
Dr. Kelly also warned that the waiting lists would exceed 1 million patients within the coming months; “what a horrendous milestone to mark and what a sad reflection of failed healthcare policies over the past decade.”