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At the IHCA’s 27<sup>th</sup> Annual Conference, held in Tullamore yesterday, IHCA President Dr Gerard Crotty said that a trolley crisis this winter is inevitable if a meaningful increase in frontline resources is not provided immediately.
“Unfortunately and having reviewed the latest data, I believe we are facing a bigger crisis this winter than last year unless realistic solutions are implemented. We are calling on Minister [for Health Leo] Varadkar to work with the IHCA and its consultants who are treating patients every day of the week. We need workable solutions to address the bottlenecks in our acute hospitals and under-resourcing so that patients can be treated without enduring long waits on trolleys and waiting lists.
“Our acute health system is already critically overcrowded with substantially more people on waiting lists and on trolleys than this time last year. The ED Task Force, which was established earlier this year in response to last winter’s trolley crisis, will not be successful unless proper achievable targets are set and appropriate resources provided to ensure that they are met.
“Proper planning and resourcing are required combined with effective implementation to address the deteriorating trolley and waiting list crises. Minister Varadkar and the HSE need to engage on a collaborative basis with the IHCA and its frontline consultant members to identify the real solutions to the capacity and other constraints that are preventing consultants from treating patients without delays. Only by doing this will we actually see sustainable solutions with real results rather than the perennial ‘sticking plaster’ solutions. Our patients deserve better as do the frontline clinical and other staff who are struggling to provide the best care to patients in suboptimal conditions.”
Meanwhile, Dr Crotty welcomed the recent Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health report on clinical indemnity and stressed the need to implement its recommendations. “The increase in premiums for clinical indemnity has made private practice in some specialities completely unsustainable. More surgical and other specialties are now in serious jeopardy. This will increase the number of patients presenting for care in already crowded public hospitals. There is an urgent need to reform the law. The cost of indemnification for Consultants in Ireland is a multiple of that charged in the UK and other jurisdictions. This is primarily due to the fact that the UK reformed the law over a decade ago to address the issues which were driving up their costs and similar actions have been taken in other jurisdictions. In contrast, no meaningful reforms have been implemented here.”
There will be full coverage of the IHCA 2015 Annual Conference in the next issue of the <strong><em>Medical Independent</em></strong>, out 8 October.
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