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IMO: Money must follow patient in primary care

17 Sep 2013

Dr Matt Sadlier

By Gary Culliton.

The IMO has recommended that money must follow the patient in primary care. In its pre-budget submission, the union said: “Chronic disease management and prevention must be adequately costed and resources must be forthcoming and the Government must ensure adequate investment in facilities and resources to support primary care teams.”

Traditionally, GPs have provided a range of pro bono services to patients, the union said. “However, given the cuts in resources in general practice (amounting to over €150 million), there has been increasing financial pressure on GPs and the viability of general practices and many are encountering difficulty in the provision of such services.”

IMO President Dr Matt Sadlier said: “Despite the known advantages of primary care, no new funding has been provided to support the Government’s programme of reform for primary care and in fact any funding provision made has been withdrawn and diverted back to address shortfalls elsewhere in the system.”

The union said there should be no further increase in out-of-pocket payments for public patients, either medical card or non-medical-card holders. Funding for universal access to primary care must be identified and prioritised in agreement with the stakeholders, said the IMO; the union focused on health system reform and investment in its pre-budget submission. The union also focused on inequalities and better access to healthcare. Suicide prevention was stressed, as was minimum alcohol pricing.

It highlighted “the opportunities the recession can create to improve health and healthcare”. Efficiencies have been made but investment is now required if the Government is to achieve its goal of a move to a system of universal health insurance, said the union.

17 September 2013

Click here to view the full article which appeared in Irish Medical Times