President’s Message

Armageddon day for hospital services

Richard Dooley, President, HMI
Richard Dooley, President, HMI

The consequences of the economic and banking implosion have finally come home to roost in the shape of the EU/IMF Troika staging a highly publicised ‘ticking off’ of the HSE over expenditure.  This has come as no surprise to many managers, as the much feared Armageddon– day, long anticipated, finally arrives to our acute hospital system.

The charade of recent years continues, and the pretence that there is a bottomless pit of efficiencies and savings to be achieved from an over-fatted hospital system has seen many hospitals units, especially the smaller county hospitals, literally shaved to the bone and with the clear expectation that more will be done with less – indefinitely.  The consequences for morale sustainability and some semblance of workforce planning are conveniently put aside.

Amongst the many battlefronts in which managers are now engaged, the main one is keeping the key stakeholders on board.  The danger now of losing the goodwill, support and trust of clinician leaders is as stark now as at any time over the past 30 years.  In the midst of all the noise from ‘national’ this is too often forgotten and an array of mixed  messages only serve to confuse and alienate.

The one chink of light in all of this is the objective and scientific manner in which new primary care resourcing will be allocated to the system.  Its methodology is sound and needs based and the proposed resolution will bring about a much more equitable solution in primary care resouring than here-to-fore.

We are now well beyond time for a similar and equitable solution for acute hospitals.  The reduction in resources in recent years has served to heighten the disproportion and inequity that exists.  Soft promises that this would be addressed are no longer acceptable.  For the county hospitals to survive, i.e. the workhorses which produce the most with the least, a suitable formula must now be urgently developed that will provide for equitable resource distribution and reward those efficient and high-performing hospitals.

On behalf of the HMI, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr. Cathal Magee for all his work on behalf of the Irish health services over the last couple of years and his contribution to demonstrating the highly professional nature of health management.  HMI wishes him well in his future endeavours .

We would also wish to welcome Mr. Tony O’Brien as Director General designate of the HSE and we look forward to working with him in the time ahead.

Richard Dooley,
President, HMI