Irish doctors warn that avoidable deaths are occurring in hospitals
The IMO claimed that patients are dying unnecessarily due to overcrowding and staff shortages.
Speaking ahead of the Irish Medical Organisation's (IMO) annual general meeting, incoming President Dr. John Cannon has warned about the impact of overcrowding in hospitals and staff shortages.
"It's now inevitable that overcrowding and understaffing in the health services is causing avoidable fatalities and poor health outcomes", Dr. Cannon stated.
He went on to add that with hospitals and community health centres reaching full capacity, that patients would fail to get the treatment they required.
"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".
Following what was a record-breaking month for hospital overcrowding figures during March, which saw almost 13,000 patients treated on trollies or chairs, the incoming IMO President called on the government to find a solution to the crisis.
"We need government to understand that health spending must meet demand and not be driven solely by fiscal policy, a strong economy depends on a healthy population", Dr. Cannon said.
With Ireland's population increasing coupled with the fact that the average life expectancy is becoming older, hospitals are being required to provide more care in understaffed and underfunded environments.
Dr. Cannon added that "The capacity crisis is real and it is dangerous. Dangerous for patients and dangerous for people working in the health services. We need action and we need it urgently".
The issue of replenishing the HSE workforce was also raised, with over 900 vacant roles yet to be filled owing to a combination of retirements and the large-scale emigration of graduate doctors.
"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", Dr. Cannon remarked.
Killarney is set to host the IMO's annual general meeting this weekend, with Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly expected to speak with doctors on the final day.
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