Staff shortages and ED overcrowding are health services’ top challenges, says IPHA survey

Staff shortages and emergency department overcrowding are the top challenges facing the health services, according to a survey conducted by Ipsos MRBI on behalf of Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association (IPHA), the organisation that represents pharmaceutical innovators in Ireland.

The results are part of a major healthcare landscape survey by Ipsos MRBI for IPHA aimed at testing public attitudes to medical innovation and the health system.

In the survey, Ipsos MRBI asked people to name the two leading challenges faced by the health system in providing better care in the years ahead. Just over one-fifth, or 23%, said a lack of staff, including doctors and nurses, was the biggest challenge, followed by 22% who cited overcrowding and the trolley crisis.

Waiting times for procedures were favoured by 17% of respondents, followed by vested interests, bureaucracy and poor management at 15%. The responses were spontaneous, meaning no options were listed by the interviewers.

Exercise and fitness worried people the most when it came to their own health, according to the survey, with 9% saying it was the issue that most concerned them. That was followed by obesity, cancer and mental health at 8%, 7% and 6%, respectively. Almost one-quarter said they were unsure what concerned them most about their health. The responses were given spontaneously.

The survey shows there is a strong public appetite for the timely availability of innovative medicines in the health system, especially as Ireland trails other western European countries on speed of access. Nine out of 10 people believe Irish patients should have access to the same range of medicines as other western European countries.

More than four in five people believe savings delivered by the industry should be reinvested into making new medicines available to patients. Almost nine in 10 people agree that it is important for the Government to continue supporting pharmaceutical innovation. This is critical for Ireland’s capacity to translate research into tomorrow’s cures.

Oliver O’Connor, IPHA CEO, said the Ipsos MRBI survey was an important gauge of perceptions about health services, as well as the role of pharmaceutical innovators in delivering improved health outcomes.

“As an industry, we remain focused on what we can and should deliver for patients, in partnership with the Government. This should be our pledge to patients: that we will, together, deliver the best medical innovation for their care. The survey captures the expectations of the public that the best treatments be made available here as fast as other peer countries in Europe. If we are to invest in innovation, then it follows that we should make the medicines that emerge from that process available to patients quickly. That is the premise of the ‘Manifesto for Better Health’ – the link between access and innovation,” said Mr O’Connor.

In the ‘Manifesto for Better Health’, the industry urged that Ireland be in the top seven countries in the EU-28 for speed of access to innovative medicines. The Government’s National Cancer Strategy aims to place Ireland in the top quartile of European countries for cancer survival in the next decade.


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