CURRENT levels of funding are simply not sufficient to meet the rising demand for healthcare, according to Mercy University Hospital chairman Michael O’Sullivan.
Speaking at an event held to mark the 160th anniversary of the hospital, Mr O’Sullivan said health budgets each year were inadequate to maintain the status quo, “not to mind improving the unacceptable waiting lists.”
“The people suffering are patients — your families and mine and our staff who do their best to serve,” he added.
“Don’t believe the facile populist analysis that it is the health sector’s inability to manage budgets that is the reason for overruns each year.”
“This is demoralising for all involved, and breeds lack of confidence in citizens in the health sector’s ability to manage scarce public funds,” he said.
“This is unfair and unhealthy in that it encourages apathy in citizens with regard to health care reform.
“Without a structural change to our delivery systems and to the health budget, the reality is these are simply undeliverable from the outset,” Mr O’Sullivan said.
However, Mr O’Sullivan welcomed a recent initiative by Health Minister Simon Harris resulting in a Sláinte Care report to set out a ten-year vision for the future as an important first step for the future.
“In particular it is encouraging to see significant recognition given to the major change management involved and that's as with any transition, will require additional resources in the early to middle years.”
“If we don’t get genuine brave leadership and flexibilities from all sides the initiative will fail and we all need to be honest here — the status quo is not acceptable — we are failing patients and our staff by our inertia as evidenced by the ongoing stretch situation in our hospitals.
“The 10-year Sláinte Care report is a start, but there is an urgency to now see the implementation of the plan cascaded through the various sectors such as acute hospitals, community, primary care.”