Sinn Féin Budget 2016 – Tackling the Crisis in the Health System
Health Spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD today set out Sinn Féin’s Budget 2016 proposals to tackle the crisis in the health system investing €383m in service delivery and over 1,900 new frontline posts.
Speaking at the launch of Sinn Féin’s Budget 2016 launch the Cavan Monaghan TD said:
“It is clear for all to see that the crisis in the health system is escalating with Labour and Fine Gael offering no immediate or indeed long term solution to address wider underfunding of the health system or acute areas of need.
“Budget 2016 provides a real opportunity to invest in frontline services and address significant deficits in service delivery. Sinn Féin has identified a number of areas where we would invest in both additional staff and services that have the potential to alleviate the pressures on emergency departments, in maternity units and across the disability services. We are calling on the Government to ensure the health overspend for 2015 is dealt with in a supplementary estimate before the year end.
“The trolley crisis is not just an emergency department crisis, it is a wider symptom of the malaise that is endemic across the wider health system. It is primarily due to a lack of capacity resulting from the failure of Government to provide adequate investment for our health services.
“Sinn Féin has prioritised the provision of an additional 500 nurses to tackle the crisis in emergency departments, increasing funding for nursing home beds, home help hours and homecare packages. We would recruit 250 additional hospital consultants eradicating the significant additional cost of agency consultants which often work out twice or three times the cost of a permanent consultant.
“Ireland had the highest per capita birth rate of all EU member states in 2014 yet our maternity services remain understaffed lacking both midwives and obstetricians. Sinn Féin would recruit an additional 250 midwives and at least 50 obstetricians from our new consultant intake.
“Successive austerity budgets targeting the most vulnerable in Irish society have resulted in a reduction in services for those with a disability of between 14 to 16%. Disability affects people of all ages and their families with 565,000 people reported to have some form of disability in the last census. Sinn Féin’s budget proposals for 2016 provide for up to 600 additional occupational therapists, physiotherapists, speech and language therapists and psychologists as well additional funding for personal assistant hours and community based services.
“We would also provide an automatic medical card for children with significant medical need arising from serious illness or disability; increase investment in dental care; increase emergency ambulance cover; increase funding for the national drugs strategy; provide for a lowering of the Drug Payment Scheme monthly limit to €132; a reduction in Drug Prescription charges of 50c; and additional staff for HIQA. Sinn Féin’s budget will deliver a fair recovery.”