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Universal healthcare must be priority- IMO submission

In its submission to the Oireachtas Committee on the Future of Healthcare, the Organisation has listed its key priorities for the health service as resourcing general practice, building capacity in public hospitals, provision for appropriate long-term residential and community care services, a new mental health strategy and expansion of public health expertise to ensure that health service planning and prevention measures take into account the best available evidence.

The IMO points to a number of challenges in its submission. These include recruitment and retention of the medical workforce.

“As key decision makers doctors are vital healthcare professionals in a 21st century healthcare system assuring the highest quality evidence-based care,” states the submission. “Doctors undergo many years of training to become specialists in their field. Only doctors possess the clinical skills and expertise necessary to diagnose illness, recommend treatment and advise patients on the likely prognosis.

“No other healthcare professional is trained in this way or possesses these skills. With up to 60 per cent of our trainee doctors planning to leave, the recruitment and retention of our medical workforce is the biggest threat to assuring a quality public universal health service.”

The Organisation also warns that universal healthcare will require additional capacity and resources.

“In order to avoid a fiasco like the water charges, open debate is required on both the future vision of our health services and the cost, as well as the most appropriate funding model.”

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