In an interview with Irish Medical News, he claimed that the present system was near “breaking point.”
“Throughout the last eight or nine years, everyone in the public service and the health service has had to do more with less, we’ve done that and we’re at breaking point. You can do that for so long and eke out the bit that you can until you start doing less with less and that’s what is happening now,” he emphasised.
He highlighted the urgent need for a return to talks regarding NCHD training support and the living out allowance to avoid strike action or further graduate emigration.
Dr. Duddy stressed that strides need to be made in both a new GP contract and a new consultant contract to prevent the growing disillusionment among medical staff. While he accepted that contracts could not be written overnight, he claimed that a major commitment was the very least that was now required.
“I don’t know how long it will take but we’re ready, willing and able to start those talks tomorrow. The time frame will be dependent on the employer and their attitude and cooperation,” he insisted.
Emphasising the need for meaningful investment in our public health system, he said there should be a particular focus on an increase in bed numbers, stating that the Irish population had increased by 1.5 million in the last 30 years, while bed numbers hadve dramatically fallen.
“I don’t expect 600 hospitals beds to appear out of thin air but a commitment and a systematic plan is needed,” he said.
“It is an issue of communication with the Department of Expenditure. We understand that there’s a small pile that needs to be allocated in a certain way but meaningful investment needs to be made”.
He called for investment in public and community health to reduce emergency department attendances and hospital admissions, anticipating a positive result in 15-20 years.
The President was hopeful that the data collected from the IMO’s December survey regarding sexual harassment in the medical field would shine a light on the influence of gender in the workplace. As this survey had their highest response rate in over 10 years, he was hopeful that it could be instrumental in tackling these issues.
The IMO have taken a firm stance against bullying, particularly for NCHDs, and are working with the training bodies to make it known that it is unacceptable behaviour.
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