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The Association said that waiting lists in Ireland’s public hospitals are “out of control” and resources urgently need to be redirected “to increase acute hospital and mental health frontline capacity”.
“There are now over 589,000 people on waiting lists in Ireland’s public hospitals and there is no sign that these numbers are going to decrease,” said Dr Tom Ryan, President of the IHCA.
“Currently our health care system appears to be more focussed on balancing budgets and rationing care than treating patients.”
Dr Ryan said the trend is towards greater reliance on private hospitals.
“Notably the private hospitals understand the increase in existing and future demand for health care services and have expanded their bed capacity, unlike the public hospitals,” said Dr Ryan.
“The cumulative cuts of nearly €1.9 billion in the current Health Capital Plan for 2016 to 2021, compared with 2008, is rapidly leading to a crumbling health service infrastructure, with acute hospitals attempting to treat patients with equipment that is increasingly obsolete.
“The current levels of funding do not even meet the cost of maintaining and replacing existing equipment never mind providing for much needed additional capacity. Furthermore, when the new capital investment projects, including the Children’s Hospital and the plans to relocate maternity hospitals, are funded the existing Capital Plan of €3 billion will not have sufficient funding to replace obsolete equipment or develop additional capacity to provide care.”
The IHCA has said that Budget 2018 must also provide a significant increase in funding for mental health services which are significantly understaffed and remain funded at what it says is 15 per cent below 2008 levels.
Separately the submission also highlights the “escalating cost” of clinical indemnity, which is forcing consultants to cease practice or emigrate.