The country’s top medics tonight launched a withering attack on the Government’s health strategy branding the Health Service Executive cowardly, incompetent and arrogant.
The Irish Medical Organisation annual conference in Killarney, Co Kerry opened with delegates warning that A&E units are chaotic and elderly people have been callously abandoned by the withdrawal of the over-70s medical card.
Dr Ruairi Hanley, IMO committee member, set the bitter tone with a fierce attack on policy, cutbacks and failings which have penalised patients.
“This government has attempted to undermine and silence us through oppressive legislation and anti-medical propaganda,” he said.
“They fear the existence of an independent, respected profession that tells the truth about the appalling state of our health service.”
Dr Hanley cited a number of high profile cases where patients have been failed by the health system – Kilkenny woman Susie Long who died of bowel cancer after she languished on a waiting list for colonoscopy; and the late Edel Kelly and Ann Moriarty who died after cancer misdiagnoses at Ennis General Hospital.
“Susie Long, Ann Moriarty and Edel Kelly and many other people continue to suffer and die as a result of the failings of this government and its creation, that inept and cowardly organisation – the Health Service Executive,” he said.
“There is also the attempted castration of the Irish medical profession with the introduction of the Medical Practitioners Act, which has destroyed doctors’ independence and has created a culture of anti-medical witch-hunts.”
Following the bitter criticism delegates passed a motion of no confidence in the Government’s health policy.
Dr Hanley added: “By adopting this motion as policy we have sent them a message on behalf of all those we care for, on behalf of all those who have suffered, who are suffering, who have died and who will die as a result of their incompetence and their failures.
“The message is clear. We, the IMO, have had enough. We have no confidence in our Government’s health strategy.”
The conference also heard claims that delays to the Government’s once-promised cervical cancer vaccination programme had unnecessarily condemned dozens of young women to death.
Delegates were told hundreds of people continue to suffer on trolleys in A&E while hospitals are filled with filth and squalor.