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Health system “one bad week” from chaos- IMO President

The union also claimed Irish hospitals are now operating in “the death zone” where “occupancy levels are over the point (92.5 per cent) at which mortality rates rise”.

The IMO President Dr Ray Walley warned the health system is “literally one bad week away from chaos in our hospitals and queues at our GP surgeries”.

“The health service budget is down by about €4 billion since 2009 and every part of the health services is now in trouble,” said Dr Walley.

“Frontline staff have shouldered incredible pressures to keep the show on the road but they simply can’t do anymore.

“This is crisis management and we need the Minister to be very clear about what his priorities are and how he is allocating resources to tackle them.

“We don’t need unrealistic talk about changing the model of healthcare or adding more pressures on overstretched resources. We need realistic talk about how to deal with the chaos that our health services have become.”

The IMO pre-budget submission is calling for a five-year health plan and some immediate steps to stop the crisis in the health services.

These include putting more beds in public hospitals, rehabilitation centres and nursing homes.

“Since 2007, 1631 acute beds have been taken out of Irish hospitals even while demand for acute beds is rising as the population grows,” according to the submission.

The submission also calls for the management of “chronic disease through a properly resourced GP service rather than the currently hospital based approach”.

The union also wants a reversal of the prescription charges for medical cardholders.

“Spend more on mental health and addiction treatment. Mental health is as important as physical health but we are currently under spending on mental health” and “stop the brain drain of highly qualified doctors leaving Ireland for better conditions overseas”

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