Staff shortages and emergency department overcrowding are the top challenges facing the health services, a survey conducted on behalf of Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association (IPHA), has revealed.
The results are part of a major healthcare landscape survey by Ipsos MRBI for IPHA, which has been aimed at testing public attitudes to medical innovation and the health system.
Respondents surveyed were asked to name the two leading challenges faced by the health system in providing better care in the years ahead. Twenty three per cent said a lack of staff of doctors and nurses was the biggest challenge, followed by 22 per cent, who cited overcrowding and the trolley crisis.
Waiting times for procedures were selected by 17 per cent of people, followed by vested interests, bureaucracy and poor management, at 15 per cent. The responses were spontaneous, which means that no options were listed in the survey.
Exercise and fitness worried people the most when it came to their personal health, according to the survey, with 9 per cent saying it was the issue that most concerned them, followed by obesity, cancer, and mental health. Almost one-quarter said they were unsure what concerned them most about their health.
The survey has revealed a strong public appetite for the timely availability of innovative medicines in the health system, nine out of 10 people believe Irish patients should have access to the same range of medicines as other western European countries.
Oliver O’Connor, IPHA CEO, said the survey was an important gauge of perceptions about our health services, as well as the role of pharmaceutical innovators in delivering improved health outcomes.
“As an industry, we remain focused on what we can and should deliver for patients, in partnership with the Government. This should be our pledge to patients: that we will, together, deliver the best medical innovation for their care. The survey captures the expectations of the public that the best treatments be made available here as fast as other peer countries in Europe. If we are to invest in innovation, then it follows that we should make the medicines that emerge from that process available to patients quickly. That is the premise of the ‘Manifesto for Better Health’ – the link between access and innovation,” said Mr O’Connor.
In the ‘Manifesto for Better Health’, the industry urged that Ireland be in the top seven countries in the EU-28 for speed of access to innovative medicines. The Government’s National Cancer Strategy aims to place Ireland in the top quartile of European countries for cancer survival in the next decade.