GPs label HSE Service Plan a 'disgrace' which nurses claim has no funds for safe staffing levels

INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha.

The HSE Service Plan for 2019 has been labelled a "disgrace" by the National Association of General Practitioners.

They said it fails to make any attempt to address the crisis currently facing patients attending their GP.

The Service Plan for 2019 provides €16bn in funding for the Health Service, an increase of almost €850m on 2017.

This year saw an overspend of €700m.

Dr Maitiú o Tuathail, President of the NAGP, said: “Patients will continue to suffer through the lack of joined-up thinking and vision in this poorly thought out plan. The service plan is nothing short of a disgrace when you put it against the backdrop of the Slainte Care Plan but is unfortunately what we have now come to expect on an annualised basis.”

“It fails to make any attempt to address the crisis currently facing patients attending their General Practitioner with no measurable increase in resourcing for services in the community.

“What we have here is an abundance of spin and a complete lack of substance.”

“2019 will be the year where waiting lists for General Practice appointments will reach crisis levels never seen in this country in the past, and where an ever increasing number of patients will be unable to access a GP”.

Nurses have said that the plan has allocated no extra funds to provide safe staffing levels for nurses and midwives.

According to the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO), the plan pledges to implement the “Framework for Safe Nurse Staffing and Skill Mix”, which would increase the number of nurses in wards.

However, they said it has no funding to implement this framework.

INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said: “You get what you pay for. Plans are well and good, but they’re just words on paper without the money to back them up.

“The government’s own Safe Nurse Staffing framework makes patients safer, saves money, and makes sense. Yet the upfront investment is nowhere to be found.

“The evidence shows that extra nurses and midwives make a real difference. The government must confirm that the necessary investment in safe nurse staffing levels will be provided in 2019, and an implementation plan agreed.”

They said adopting the framework is Government policy.

    Its pilot programme in three Irish hospitals found that the framework delivered:

  • a 58% reduction in missed care;
  • a drop in patient mortality;
  • improved patient satisfaction;
  • lower staff burnout, sick leave, and intention to leave the job;
  • significant savings in per patient costs due to quicker care;
  • monthly net staffing savings of €2,905 per ward, due to reduced agency costs.

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