Government health policy in tatters – Ó Caoláin
Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has said the health policy of the government is now in tatters with the news that the already one year overdue first phase of the promised extension of free GP care to all has been abandoned.
“News that the commitment to extend free GP care to people with long-term illnesses is being abandoned is hugely disappointing for these patients and is another broken promise from the Fine Gael/Labour Government.
“This was supposed to be the first phase of the extension of free GP care to all within the lifetime of the government as they promised in their Programme for Government. It was to have been introduced in March 2012 but we now find that it has been abandoned.
“The health policy of the Fine Gael/Labour Government is in tatters. Free GP care was supposed to be a cornerstone of that policy. Instead we have a continuation of the same two-tier, inequitable health system that we had under Fianna Fáil with the same widespread health inequalities, the same excessive GP fees for people who do not fall below the very low medical card income qualification threshold, the same hospital waiting lists and the same savage cuts being imposed in budget after budget.
“Only last week in the Dáil, Minister of State for Primary Care, Alex White tried to pedal the nonsense that the recent further restrictions on medical card qualification do not run contrary to the government’s plan for free GP care for all.
“Nor is there is any sign of progress towards this government’s much heralded but fundamentally flawed private insurance-based health funding plan, another cornerstone of their policy.
“It is now time for a major rethink on health policy by this government with the emphasis on supporting and enhancing the public health system, funded from fair taxation, and ensuring equal access for all based on medical need alone.”