The Social Democrats welcome the publication today of a ten year plan for radical reform of Ireland’s broken health system.
The Sláintecare plan aims to ensure that everybody in Ireland has access to an affordable, universal, single-tier healthcare system in which patients are treated promptly on the basis of need, rather than ability to pay.
The report was produced by the cross-party Oireachtas Committee on the Future of Healthcare which was chaired by Social Democrat co-leader Róisín Shortall TD.
Deputy Shortall said: “Too many people’s lives have been damaged by a lack of adequate health care. And too many people have been impoverished because they have had to bear the costs of services that should be available free to all. Sláintecare is a fully costed plan to build a modern universal healthcare system to meet the needs of all people based on their medical needs, not on their economic status.
“Under the Sláintecare proposals, people will be able to get at least 70 per cent of their healthcare in their community, rather than having to travel to the nearest acute hospital. This includes free GP care, access to therapies like speech and language and physio-theraphy, treatment for chronic illnesses, minor surgery and diagnostic services.
“This shift away from hospital care will require additional funding to provide universal benefits, to build and equip primary health centres, to offer community diagnostic testing and to recruit and train more medical professionals. We are confident that our proposals will deliver an improved and cost-effective healthcare system that works for staff and patients alike.”
Social Democrats’ co-leader Catherine Murphy said:
“Sláintecare’s focus on preventive public health and the promotion of healthy lifestyles and mental wellbeing are all vitally important. Allocating health resources at a regional level and setting up regional bodies for delivering integrated care is also very welcome. It is crucial that this report’s detailed implementation proposals are put into action and that the investment needed is made available.
“People are fed up with lengthy waiting times for appointments, trollies in emergency departments, out-of-pocket charges, and the postcode lottery for care services. This is unique opportunity for long-overdue reform – the government has to act on this and give us a health system which we all deserve.”
Deputy Shortall paid tribute to her cross-party colleagues for their diligent work in the committee which received 160 submissions and worked for eleven months.
“Despite having a broad range of political views, the committee members worked incredibly well together to produce a plan for a universal single-tier health system of which we can all be proud.”