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Sinn Féin calls for new healthcare system in Ireland

14 February, 2011 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Healthcare GE2011 doc coverLaunching Sinn Féin’s health proposals ‘Healthcare in Ireland – there is a better way’ Sinn Féin Health & Children spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said that the current two-tier system must be replaced with a new system based on equality of access for all based on need alone.

He said:

“The healthcare system needs root and branch reform. We need a system where access to care at all levels is equitable and based on medical need alone. The two-tier system is inherently inequitable and inefficient and it has to go. Sinn Féin has comprehensive proposals to transform our healthcare services. We seek a new system based on public service and social solidarity.

“Our core proposal is for a new universal public healthcare system for Ireland that provides care to all free at the point of delivery, on the basis of need alone, and funded from general fair and progressive taxation. We would establish a Health Funding Commission to help plan the transition to the new system.

“In the short term we would abolish prescription charges for medical card patients and introduce measures to reduce the cost of drugs by tackling waste and profiteering.

“We would restore Ministerial and Departmental responsibility for public health services, remove the excessive bureaucracy of the HSE and cap salaries at 100,000 euros.

“We would enshrine the right to healthcare in the Constitution and establish a Health Ombudsman.

“The downgrading of local hospitals must be reversed. They must be allowed to play their proper role as providers of a full range of care, including emergency services.

“The State subsidising of the private for-profit healthcare sector must be ended and all public money allocated for healthcare must be spent in the public system to deliver care on the basis of need alone.”

Commenting on the health policies of the other parties, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said:

“Fianna Fáil is defending the indefensible by calling for the status quo to continue – not surprising given that their new leader is a former Minister for Health & Children who conceived the failed HSE.

“Fine Gael and Labour are advocating a health insurance model which has the potential to give insurance companies a determining role in the delivery of health services.

“There are also differences between the Fine Gael and Labour proposals and we have no idea what a hybrid Fine Gael/Labour government health policy would look like.” ENDS

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