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The new IMO President Dr Ina Kelly told the IMO AGM today that the “biggest crisis” in our health system at the moment is the crisis “in morale amongst our key workers”.
She told this year’s online conference that this included the “low morale of young consultants facing impossible demands on their time and knowing that they are earning over 30 per cent less than their colleagues because the Government thinks it’s ok to have a two tier salary system”.
She noted the “low morale of GPs who are under immense pressure all the time, the low morale of our NCHDs who are queuing up to apply for opportunities to work abroad, rather than stay here and face systematic neglect and inexcusable working hours”.
Dr Kelly also highlighted the low morale of “foreign doctors working here in Ireland who have no clear path to enable them to make the most of their careers, or to serve this country as well as they can”.
Dr Kelly reflected on her own experience as a Specialist in Public Health Medicine.
“And that – I have to say – is a decidedly mixed experience,” she told IMO delegates.
“Public health medicine is endlessly interesting and intermittently very fulfilling, but I know that like all my colleagues I have been fighting with one hand tied behind my back.
“It has been so challenging for us to carry out our immense responsibilities during this public health crisis, while at the same time struggling to get the government to treat public health medicine equally to other branches of medicine.
“We are so glad that the government has now seen the benefit to the country and the health service of a comprehensive, safe, effective, sustainable and consultant led and provided public health medicine service.
“In many respects the struggles in public health medicine are replicated across the specialties. Hard working people doing everything they can but constantly being undervalued and under resourced.”
Dr Kelly also said that she wanted her experience in public health medicine “to inform some non-Covid-19 issues which I hope to highlight during my term – in particular the cause of women in medicine and the two crises of mental health and climate change”.