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GPs welcome HSE assertion that €9 billion needed to save Irish health service

HSE director general Tony O’Brien argued today that the HSE is in need of significant and immediate investment in order to save the health service.

shutterstock_496259797 File Photo Source: Shutterstock/Chaikom

THE BODY REPRESENTING Ireland’s GPs says it welcomes the assertion today by the head of the HSE that the health service here needs an injection of €9 billion in order to solve the ongoing crises being seen in Irish medical institutions.

Writing in today’s Sunday Business Post, HSE head Tony O’Brien said that the funds would have to be invested over a period of a decade, and that it would be required specifically to replace medical equipment, upgrade IT systems, and repair Ireland’s nursing homes and hospitals.

In response, the National Association of General Practitioners (NAGP) said today that, in agreement with O’Brien’s assessment, a shift towards primary care, or care provided in the community, would go some distance towards resolving the crisis being seen in Irish health care.

2/2/2016. Tony O Brien At Committees Tony O'Brien Source: Leah Farrell

O’Brien argued that a decisive shift to such care, assuming it is properly resourced, would be part of the solution.

“Forward planning and financial investment is needed to make a decisive shift. This change must take place if we are to provide a health service that is safe, efficient and effective,” said president of the NAGP Dr Emmet Kerin.

Kerin argues that the funding suggested by O’Brien would be necessary “in order to keep patients, who could be treated in the community, out of the emergency department”.

For those very ill patients who do need immediate hospital care there also needs to be direct access for GPs to the appropriate acute hospital department – whether that’s medical, surgical, gynae or frail elderly.

“The National Council of the NAGP are eager to begin the negotiation process with the HSE and Department of Health as soon as possible.”

In his column this morning, while apologising for the trolley crisis seen across Ireland’s hospitals in the first week of the new year, O’Brien nevertheless claimed “I will be apologising next year and for many years to come” if Ireland does not move away from a health system “that is no longer fit for purpose”.

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