The Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) has cautioned that trolley numbers, waiting lists and quality levels across the health service will all deteriorate next year, despite the apparent rise in health spending under the HSE’s National Service Plan for 2018.
The President of the IMO, Dr. Ann Hogan, criticised the presentation of the plan, as it focussed on amounts being budgeted for various activities instead of the “real challenge” of measuring proposed spends against the rapidly rising levels of demand; “A service plan should detail how the HSE proposes to meet the rising demand for essential health services not try to distract the public by focussing on the amounts of money it proposes to spend. The reality is that the budget set aside for health next year will not cover existing demand levels not to mind address the gap in crucial services between demand and supply”.
Dr. Hogan highlighted the significance of the HSE’s acknowledgment that there would be significant challenges in meeting service demands next year.
The IMO President drew particular attention to the “derisory” increase of €25 million in primary care to support the GP contract, GP training, diagnostics, therapies, nursing, Advanced Nurse Practitioner appointments and community nursing.
Dr. Hogan called for a public debate about the gap between what was being proposed to be spent and what was demanded to provide a reasonable level of health services for a modern country and stated that the IMO would continue to campaign for increased resources for health services through the year ahead.