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Report represents ‘historic milestone’ — says INMO

07 Jun 2017

Nurses have described the publication of the Sláintecare Report as a historic milestone for healthcare, in that it is the first time there has been political consensus about the shape and form of our public health service.

In particular, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) said the acceptance that need should be the sole determinant of access to care, and not ability to pay, was “most welcome, right and proper”.

It said the Oireachtas Committee had correctly identified the need to shift the vast majority of healthcare out of the hospital system and into community/primary care services, and was right to highlight the need to significantly increase overall capacity, both in terms of capital and human resources.

However, the union had continuing concerns with regard to the level of additional funding outlined in the report, and the prospect of support from future governments.

“The question of the funding allocated in the report requires closer examination to ensure that, both in terms of current and capital spending, it provides the necessary resources to address the serious shortcomings that currently exist within our underfunded public health service,” said INMO Deputy General Secretary David Hughes.

The union’s Executive Council is due to consider the report in greater detail at a meeting next week.

While welcoming certain aspects of the report, the Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) believed it was lacking in substance and largely aspirational. “It does not provide a clear or implementable blueprint for future primary care services in Ireland,” a spokesperson said.

“The report provides many useful proposals, particularly on treating patients locally, but is undermined by the lack of recognition of the contribution of pharmacists whose contribution to primary care solutions has been recognised internationally.

“We have a chronic and worsening shortage of GPs. There is no way a totally GP-centric primary care system can work without innovative use of community pharmacy and an expanded role for the pharmacy profession,” he said.

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