Medical equipment not properly utilised, conference hears

EXPENSIVE medical equipment such as CT scanners should be better utilised, the head of the country’s hospital consultants urged yesterday.

Irish Hospital Consultants’ Association general secretary Finbarr Fitzpatrick also demanded the 3,000 hospital beds taken out of acute hospitals during the 1990s should be restored.

Otherwise, he warned, unprecedented havoc would ensue when the population grows by one million, as was forecast over the next 15 years.

He said our health system, and planning ahead to meet the needs of the most vulnerable in our community, must get similar attention from the Government.

“The same applies to the pension issue.

“Our pensions bill into the future will not be as big as our health bill. Yet, we don’t seem to be planning for health,” he said as councillors gathered for the Local Authority Members Association (LAMA) congress.

He also raised the issue of medical equipment not being properly utilised.

“Too many hospital services are operational from 9am to 5pm,” he said.

“Hospitals should be more organised and more able to meet the A&E peak demands, which typically occur from 8am through until midnight.

“We have an equal duty of care to all patients, whether they be in a bed, elective or on a trolley.

“Each of these three are entitled to care within an acceptable timeframe. We cannot be looking after one at the expense of another.”

Focusing on bed availability, the IHCA head stated: “I do not accept that we have enough beds.

“Our population is going to grow by a further one million over the next 15 years.

“If we look at A&E alone, this means that we will have around 300,000 extra attendances per annum. I don’t see anyone saying we should prepare for this.

“With alcohol consumption on the rise, we can expect to see many of those illnesses affecting the over 65s beginning to hit those people who are in their 50s.

“It’s simply a case that the capacity that was in the system has to be returned.”

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