“Irish Health system rated worse than Slovakia and Estonia” Ó Caoláin
Sinn Féin health spokesperson Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has highlighted the findings of the recent European Health Consumer Index study which rates Ireland in 22nd place out of 36 countries, a drop from its previous level of 14th.
Deputy Ó Caoláin said;
“This study raises highly disturbing questions, but does not come as a surprise to anyone who has kept a close eye on the current state of the Irish Health system. Ireland’s rating has dropped radically, not least because those who conducted the study felt that the official waiting list data has lost all credibility. This is something that I have raised on several occasions but the Minister has always denied the claim. It now clearly is the case.
“The Minister for Health recently released his priorities for the remainder of the lifespan of this Government. He has announced that the target for waiting lists has changed. The target is now that no one will wait longer than 18 months for an outpatient appointment, and then an additional 18 months for their treatment. In other words not much of a target. In 2001 the target had been that “no public patient will have to wait for more than three months to commence treatment, following referral from an out-patient department" same to be in situ by 2004. That this is no longer even a target is an indictment of the current Government and their prioritisation of the population’s health needs.
“We have seen the targets on waiting times increase and nearly 50,000 patients are now waiting more than a year for an outpatient appointment. The study also found that patient empowerment was similar to levels in Romania and that healthcare inequality was evident. The fact that so many people avail of private health insurance was interpreted as “extreme dissatisfaction with the public system.
“The people of Ireland deserve a better health system, one in which they are empowered and seen and treated within a reasonable timeframe. Minister Varadkar’s new targets mean that Ireland’s rating could slip even further,” concluded Deputy Ó Caoláin.