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Should drink drivers get an automatic ban? Doctors will be debating that today

The Irish Medical Organisation’s AGM is happening in Galway.

MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS FROM all over Ireland will be in Galway today for the Irish Medical Organisation’s AGM.

The annual conference began yesterday and will continue tomorrow, when it will be addressed by Health Minister Simon Harris.

imo tweet Source: IMO/Twitter

Several motions are set to be discussed today, including a proposal to call on the government to legislate for an automatic ban from driving, “of appropriate duration”, for anyone convicted of drink driving offences, including first time offenders.

The debate will be timely given Transport Minister Shane Ross’ proposed legislation that would mean anyone caught driving over the legal alcohol limit would get a minimum three-month ban. The bill has been criticised by some, including a number of rural TDs.

shutterstock_233027959 File photo Source: Shutterstock/Monika Gruszewicz

Ross has claimed the legislation could save 35 lives over the next five years, based on Road Safety Authority figures that show at least 35 people died in collisions from 2008 to 2012 in which involved drivers were found responsible due to alcohol levels at between 21 and 80mg/100ml.

Ross recently told the Oireachtas Transport Committee: “So if people ask what good this bill will do, there is the answer. If we could prevent 35 deaths over the next five years, wouldn’t it be worth it?”

This number of lives that could be saved has been disputed as it doesn’t take into account other mitigating factors, as laid out here.

Future of healthcare 

Other motions to be debated at the conference today include:

  • Urging the government to not limit the availability of medicinal cannabis products in any future legislation by restricting their prescription to consultants and the indications for which they can be prescribed
  • Calling for the introduction of a tax relief system for debt undertaken to acquire medical training
  • A proposal that the HSE and Department of Health will publish, on a weekly basis, details of the numbers of patients on trolleys, the number of cancelled operations, the readmission rate to emergency departments post-discharge and outpatient waiting list numbers
  • A call for all health professionals to strongly support the HPV vaccination programme

The future of healthcare in Ireland will also be discussed, including talks on financial investment and why so many young doctors emigrate to pursue a career abroad.

Outgoing IMO President Dr John Duddy will address delegates this afternoon.

Keep up to date with the latest news from the AGM by following @orlaryan on Twitter.

Read: Over 50,000 sign petition to prevent Sisters of Charity becoming owners of maternity hospital

Read: ‘It robs you of your very being’: Life with the invisible illness

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