Dr Ann Hogan – Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) President
“It would be truly revolutionary to hear the Government saying not only have they decided on the priorities but they are actually going to fund them. As a society we cannot continue to simply give out about our health services, we need to agree on the solutions and agree that these will have to be paid for.
“All our problems are around capacity; capacity with regards to the number of beds in both acute hospitals and the community setting. Capacity with respect to the number of medical staff – we need to attract more consultants capacity in General Practice, we must deliver a wider range of services at GP surgeries
“From my personal point of view, that I would hope that we can build on the improved uptake of HPV vaccine in 2017 and restore uptake of this cancer-preventing vaccine to 80 per cent”.
Dr Peadar Gilligan – IMO Vice President and IMO Consultant Committee Chair
“We agree all investment should be evidence based but the evidence has long been there to clearly demonstrate that. There are not enough acute or nursing home beds to cope with our demographics and in particular deal with the complex medical problems of a growing elderly population.
“Investment in GP led Primary Care and in particular the management of chronic disease in the community which will alleviate the pressures on the acute hospital system in terms of waiting lists and acute presentations as well as providing more effective care for the patient and better value for the taxpayer.
“A consultant delivered hospital service is key to delivering appropriate and timely patient care but the Irish health services are not an employer of choice and until such a time as we can compete internationally and offer rewarding careers to our doctors we will continue to lose them to other health services.
“It may seem obvious to all but we will not see the impact of additional hospital beds until they are put in place. Successive governments saying hospital beds are not deliverable in the short term and therefore no attempt being made to deliver them is the reason we have the overcrowding crisis we currently have.
“There are hundreds of potential ward beds available nationally if closed wards and units were re-opened and staffed appropriately. Rolling closures of theatres and ward beds are an absolute disgrace at a time when over 500 patients are awaiting admission from our Emergency Departments nationally and public money is being used to pay for care in private hospitals rather than in the under resourced acute hospital system”.
“2018 needs to be the Year of the GP Contract”
Dr Padraig McGarry – IMO GP Committee Chair
“2018 needs to be the Year of the GP Contract. It is unfathomable that there would be any further impediment in delaying this overdue contract in light of the ongoing crisis which is facing General Practice – with a capacity crisis, a manpower crisis, and most importantly a growing disbelief by GPs that this will ever be addressed .
“It is absolutely necessary for the Department of Health and the Government to immediately address the issue of FEMPI which has wrought so much damage to General Practice over the past number of years and which has eroded some much good will. Addressing FEMPI will be the first step in rebuilding trust and confidence in GPs.
“This will pave the way for completion of the negotiation of the issues which are necessary in developing a new contract – a contract which is fit for purpose in a 21st Century health system”.
“with the right combination of reform and investment, we can deliver a blueprint for our health service that we have not had for many years”
The Health Department told IMN that the focus for 2018 will be improving access, building capacity, investing in infrastructure, advancing a new GP contract and progressing the Slaintecare reforms.
When ask what challenges this year will bring, the office highlighted the pressures of growing demand: “The health service faces a demographic challenge with rising demand but with the right combination of reform and investment, we can deliver a blueprint for our health service that we have not had for many years”.