Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Health review must address underfunding

13 December, 2004

Sinn Féin health spokesperson, Cllr John O'Dowd MLA, said that the review of health and social care provision announced today by Direct Rule ministers Ian Pearson and Angela Smith will only be effective if it seeks to undo decades of health service underfunding.

Cllr O'Dowd said:

"There is no doubt that the problems confronting the health service are a legacy of years of under investment and neglect. It will take a substantial effort to recover the situation but we believe it can be done.

"Sinn Féin is of the view that there is a need to get spending up to the European average on health if we are to achieve the goal of an effective and efficient health service.

"Not only do we have to get spending up, we need to get the money spent on front line services. Far too much cash is being under spent as a result of unnecessary bureaucracy or tied up in unwieldy long term PFI contracts. These two NIO ministers must explain why they have launched yet another review of the health service, particularly as we have already had the Hayes Review, the Developing Better Services report, and are currently awaiting the outcome of the Review of Public Administration

"Provision of effective and modern health and social care services cannot be secured on the cheap. Our health service needs a massive injection of funds and we believe the majority of people in this country understand and support that. We also believe that many people are also coming to the understanding that Ireland is too small a country to support two separate health service systems, and there is clearly a need to harmonise provision and delivery of health services across the whole island." ENDS

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