It said “significant financial investment” is needed in hospital beds, general practice and in recruitment and retention of doctors.
IMO President Dr Ann Hogan warned that there has been enough reports on the health service and “what we now need is a serious commitment to invest in a planned way”.
Dr Hogan said that investment in GP-led primary care, and in particular the management of chronic disease in the community, would alleviate pressures on the acute hospital system in terms of waiting lists and acute presentations.
She added that, while a consultant-delivered hospital service is key to delivering appropriate and timely patient care, the Irish health service is “not an employer of choice” and until such a time as it can compete internationally and offer rewarding careers to doctors “we will continue to lose them to other health services”.
“This is not a trolley crisis – this is a system in meltdown. No single measure will address the problem in any significant way. We have to tackle the three core issues at the same time to make any progress. Time for analysing the problem is over what we need is an increasing and sustained funding programme.”
Meanwhile, Minister Harris has this afternoon issued a statement saying that a teleconference has been held with the chief executives of the country’s Hospital Groups to discuss overcrowding and conditions for patients and staff.
“I thanked them for their work and that of their staff, and stressed the importance of having clinical decision makers in place in hospitals at key times to increase patient flow through the emergency departments (EDs). I also asked them to ensure all the beds that can be opened are opened, that the availability of diagnostics is increased and they continue to work to reduce the number of people who are in hospital, but could be discharged into the community. I assured the Hospital Group CEOs that all necessary resources will be made available to allow them in the coming days and weeks.
“I want to reassure the public that all the Winter Plan measures funded by increased investment by Government, like increased access to home care, transitional care and diagnostics along with additional acute bed capacity, are being implemented to deal with the extra pressures our health service is experiencing.
“I am committed to breaking the cycle of overcrowding in the health service. To do this I am pursing three priorities in 2018 – increasing bed capacity using evidence provided by the bed capacity review, implementing reform through Sláintecare and increasing services provided through primary care by negotiating a new GP contract.”