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Dr Hickey made a hard-hitting presentation at the IHCA Annual Conference, looking at a number of problems in the service.
“I don’t think anyone in this room would disagree with me if I said we have a lack of integrated care,” he said.
“There is a preoccupation with trying to move services into primary care that may or may not be appropriate for it.”
Dr Hickey also said “we have a perpetual manta about reform. It’s not reform we need; it is someone to fix the bloody problem”.
He contended that money is being squandered in the health system, saying that “we keep burning money without fail”.
“We have a severe shortage of critical care beds. That results in cancellation of major surgery. It also causes significant delays to acute intensive care admission. That comes at a cost.”
Dr Hickey said part of this cost is patient deaths, with studies showing that bed shortages are resulting in an estimated 300 deaths per year.
“We know that if your admission is delayed for more than six hours in an intensive care bed, your mortality goes up significantly,” he commented.