Sunday, May 28, 2023

Overcrowding and understaffing causing avoidable fatalities and poor health outcomes, IMO AGM hears

The incoming IMO President Dr John Cannon told the conference that patients are dying unnecessarily

The incoming President of the IMO has warned that overcrowding and understaffing in the health service is causing avoidable fatalities and poorer health outcomes – tragedies that might otherwise be avoided.

Dr John Cannon, IMO

Dr John Cannon was speaking as doctors from all specialties gathered for the AGM of the IMO, which began yesterday in Killarney and runs until Saturday. The Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly TD, is due to address the conference tomorrow.

The opening session at the AGM yesterday focused on Medical Workforce Planning. Featured speakers for the AGM include the CEO of the Medical Council, Mr Leo Kearns and Dr Roisin Morris, Medical Workforce Planning Lead, NDTP (National Doctors Training and Planning) in the HSE.

Dr Cannon said, “Our focus this weekend is the capacity crisis that now plagues all aspects of the health services including Hospitals, General Practice, and Community Services.

“Tragically, it is inevitable that this capacity crisis is contributing to increased avoidable mortality because patients are being treated in overcrowded hospitals or treatment is being delayed in primary or secondary care settings as capacity cannot meet patient need.”

Dr Cannon added that the capacity crisis was compounded by the recruitment and retention crisis which has seen the HSE struggle to fill the roles left by retiring GPs or to fill the 900+ vacancies at consultant level, while NCHDs are continuing to work unsafe hours to cover rota gaps:

“There is a shortage of doctors globally and we are simply not doing enough to either retain our workforce or to attract much needed doctors back to Ireland”.

Read our full coverage of the IMO AGM in IMT’s May issue

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