"A sticking plaster to cover a gaping wound" – Irish Medical Organisation blasts Government's winter plan 2 months ago

"A sticking plaster to cover a gaping wound" – Irish Medical Organisation blasts Government's winter plan

"Every doctor and healthcare worker is working beyond capacity right now and it is untenable that they are being asked to face into a winter with insufficient support.”

With pressure mounting on the healthcare system amidst a significant rise in Covid cases and related hospitalisations, the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) has hit out at the Government's proposed winter plan.

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The IMO's scathing critique arrives on a day where the president of the Intensive Care Society of Ireland declared that "something has to give" with regards to the current hospital situation.

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly, meanwhile, has spoken of new modelling that signals a further escalation in Covid cases, hospitalisations and ICU care over the coming weeks.

As for the potential for a lockdown for unvaccinated people; Taoiseach Michéal Martin has ruled such a scenario out.

In its statement issued on Monday evening, the IMO forecasts a "traumatic winter" and notes that the government's approach represents an "inadequate" response to the challenges that lie ahead.

“This plan was launched at a time when we have only 21 ICU beds available in the country," said Dr Ina Kelly, president of the IMO.

"Every doctor and healthcare worker is working beyond capacity right now and it is untenable that they are being asked to face into a winter with insufficient support.”

Dr Kelly added that the pandemic has "exposed the long-term cost of failing to invest in our health services" and that the "only response now seems to be to try and force more work out of our exhausted doctors" before pointing to 700 vacant consultant posts resulting in enormous strain on the consultants that are available.

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"The capacity is simply not there to meet demand and it is not all Covid-related," said Dr Kelly.

"The winter plan is like using a sticking plaster to cover a gaping wound.

"Our health services remain crippled by a lack of bed capacity on the one hand and a lack of doctors and other healthcare professionals on the other and until we fix these two problems, we will forever be trying to prevent a crisis becoming a catastrophe."

In closing, Dr Kelly warned that waiting lists are likely to exceed one million patients within the coming months.

"What a horrendous milestone to mark and what a sad reflection of failed healthcare policies over the past decade," she said.

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