The IMO has accused the Government of not being serious about reform, while doing nothing to stem the constant flow of younger doctors emigrating to other countries that offer them better working conditions and pay.
The President of the IMO, Dr. Padraig McGarry, also warned that the proposal to extend free GP care to children up to 8 years of age has not yet been agreed with the IMO: “As part of the recent IMO GP Deal, the IMO agreed to enter separate negotiations on this issue but talks have not even begun on how this can be resourced and implemented and we have indicated strongly that this move is not our preferred policy direction given other priorities for investment.”
The IMO was commenting after the announcement of today’s Budget. Dr. McGarrysaid: “At best, this is a ‘stand-still’ position that does nothing of any real substance for our failing health system. The Government had an opportunity with Budget 2020 to offer meaningful solutions to our many issues, but it has utterly failed to do so.”
Dr. McGarry said that new service development could not happen under this Budget, while existing services would continue to be stretched to breaking point. “This Budget only barely covers the demographic changes that we are seeing in society as our population ages and does nothing to convince medical professionals that things are going to get better. Even to sustain the existing level of service provision will be difficult with this level of investment. It is offensive in the extreme and really is akin to putting a plaster on a broken leg.”
The IMO is concerned that the following issues have not been addressed:
- The unfair 30% pay disparity between Consultants based solely on when they were appointed
- Lack of adequate resources and staff in key medical specialties
- No meaningful financial supports for medical graduates
- Failed policy of investing public funds in private hospitals while public system is starved of resources
- No funds to address medical manpower crisis
“During the years of austerity, the IMO warned that the Government’s inability to properly fund our health service would have catastrophic effects. Now, as we see doctors leaving the medical register in their droves, sub-standard working conditions, and a huge increase in waiting lists, it is depressingly obvious that we have been proved right,” said Dr. McGarry.
“The lack of respect and culture of neglect fostered by the Government does the patients and doctors of this country a huge disservice. It is clear that it is not serious about giving the people of Ireland the health system they deserve. Significant and sustained investment across the board is required to improve and transform the health service. This budget does not deliver that. The Government should at least be honest about its lack of investment instead of trying to sell this Budget as something it is not.”