The IMO has called for urgent Government action in Budget 2021 to address “the ongoing crisis in doctor recruitment and capacity” in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The organisation published its pre-Budget submission today.
“The Government’s Winter Plan represents just 3 per cent of the annual health budget and is a short term investment up to March 2021 – in a normal year this investment would be welcome but this will not be sufficient over the coming months as we prepare for a second surge of a virus that has already brought the country to a standstill,” said Dr Padraig McGarry, President of the IMO.
“What we need to see in this Budget is a realistic commitment to a fully functioning healthcare system with appropriate funding to increase acute bed capacity including temporary builds, a doubling of ICU capacity and capital finance for 5,000 inpatient beds.”
He also called for funding to address “inequitable pay issues for consultants which has resulted in 500 vacant consultant posts and has made it impossible for the HSE to recruit consultants to deliver care to patients.”
Dr McGarry, said that the Government needed to immediately increase its investment if the health system is to survive a second surge of Covid-19 while continuing to deliver non-Covid care.
The IMO said it recognises the fiscal situation facing the country, however Dr McGarry said: “We warned at the time of the last recession that any cutbacks in health would be disastrous. Unfortunately our warnings were not heeded so we are appealing to Government not to repeat the mistakes of the past.”