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Government should adopt Sinn Féin amendment to bring about equitable health service

10 December, 2004

Sinn Féin leader in the Dáil, Caoimhghin Ó Caoláin has described as "outrageous" the decision to disallow a Sinn Féin amendment to the Health Bill 2004 that would have enshrined in the Bill the principle of an equitable health service. The amendment was disallowed on the grounds that there may be cost implications so therefore could not be submitted by an opposition TD. The Sinn Féin Deputy said that this was "disingenuous to say the least", and called on the Minister for Health to adopt it as a government amendment.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said, "The Sinn Féin amendment stated: "The guiding principle and primary function of the Executive will be the equitable and efficient delivery of health services and personal social services to each person in the State as he or she requires such services and on the basis of need alone."

"Surely this should be the guiding principle of all who believe in a national health service. That this motion should be rejected on the grounds that it may cost money to implement is not only outrageous but also disingenuous to say the least. The problem with how our health services are delivered in this State is exactly because there are no guiding principles demanding equitable and efficient health service delivery. We continue to have a two-tier system, actively encouraged by this Government it must be said, where those who can afford to pay get preferential treatment, while those in real need are left languishing on hospital trolleys, or worse, people are afraid to seek medical attention for fear of the costs.

"If this Government was truly committed to providing health care services to all those who need it then the least they could do is adopt this amendment as their own and start the process bringing about a truly equitable health service based on equality of access." ENDS

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