Patients will die if budget cuts not eased, warns former NHS chief
Published 05/11/2011 | 05:00
Death rates in hospital will rise unless there is some easing of budget cuts, the country's main nursing union was told yesterday.
A former NHS deputy chief executive warned the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) that proposed reductions in health service funding -- which could see €500m cut on top of the €1bn shaved in 2011 -- would lead to decreasing patient care.
The warning was given at an INMO conference on patient safety in Croke Park, Dublin, organised against a background of the Government's bleak mid-term economic review.
Mike Gill, a former finance director and deputy chief executive of the Mid-Staffordshire Foundation NHS Trust in the UK, told the forum he had witnessed the dire consequences of cost-cutting, adding that meeting financial targets at any cost led to a fall in standards and increasing death rates.
The patient must always be the priority, he said.
And he referred to an inquiry into the trust -- where between 400 and 1,200 patients died unnecessarily from 2005 to 2008 -- which found that poor standards left patients at greater risk.
He also urged Irish nurses and midwives to continue to come forward and speak out about issues on the frontline.