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Dr Hogan said the presentation of the plan focused on amounts being budgeted for activities whereas the real challenge was to measure proposed spend against the “rapidly rising” levels of demand.
The IMO has warned that trolley numbers, waiting lists and quality levels across the health service will all deteriorate next year, despite “an apparent rise” in health spending under the HSE National Service Plan for 2018 published today.
“A service plan should detail how the HSE proposes to meet the rising demand for essential health services, not try to distract the public by focussing on the amounts of money it proposes to spend. The reality is that the budget set aside for health next year will not cover existing demand levels not to mind address the gap in crucial services between demand and supply,” commented Dr Hogan.
She said it was noteworthy that the HSE had acknowledged there would be significant challenges in meeting service demands next year.
The IMO President, a public health doctor, drew particular attention to the “derisory” increase of €25 million in primary care to support the GP contract, GP training, diagnostics, therapies, nursing, Advanced Nurse Practitioner appointments and community nursing.
Dr Hogan also called for a public debate about the gap between what was being proposed to be spent and what was demanded to provide a “reasonable level of health services for a modern country”.
She said that the IMO would continue to campaign for increased resources for health services through the year ahead.
Meanwhile, Minister for Health Simon Harris said he was “pleased” that the HSE intends to “refocus efforts” to achieve best outcomes and value for money through the establishment of a Value Improvement Programme. “This will consider how to reduce the costs of delivering services without reducing the level or quality of the services provided,” he said.
Minister Harris said the Service Plan is based on an increased budget of over €600 million compared to 2017 and brings the total HSE budget to more than €14.5 billion.