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Take politics out of health and put patients first - McLaughlin

23 April, 2016 - by Maeve McLaughlin

Kathleen Lynn, a member of the Citizens’ Army, organizing medical care during the Rising was one of the first women to graduate as a doctor in Ireland.

A lifelong activist, fighting for social justice and workers’ rights, she made the connection still relevant today.

Health and social justice are inextricably linked.

Tackling Health Inequalities is fundamental to delivering health and social care provision. 

Early intervention and prevention is essential. 

Health spend this year is £4.88billion but reality isit is not shared equally across society.

Life expectancy in affluent areas is aproximately 10 years longer than in deprived areas.

The top three constituencies in the North for health inequalities are West Belfast, North Belfast and Foyle.

Sinn Fein protected the Health budget last year with an additional £128m and will continue to protect and enhance our Health service.

However the big debate is where current health spend goes. 

The system is overly complex, too bureaucratic and lacks accountability.

We welcome the health Minister’s commitment to reform – we now want to see delivery.

But delivery of health provision must not become 'Care on the Cheap'!

Transforming your Care cannot be a “privatisation charter”.

Workforce planning should be prioritised - not something that is done in silos three plus years into a strategy.

We cannot say spending is going in the right direction and has the right outcome when we cannot pay frontline staff a living wage and senior consultants award themselves bonuses of £55m over the last five years.

£12m will be spent this year in the Western Trust on locums and agency staff – this is unsustainable and we are calling on the Health Minister to deliver on the proposal for a medical school at Derry’s Magee campus to help address this waste.

All-Ireland health such as the new radiotherapy unit in Derry and the Children’s heart services make sense.

Now we need an island wide addiction strategy, air ambulance service, organ donation register and suicide prevention strategy.

In Derry we are committed to the development of a crisis intervention service to provide safe space for people in crisis

We need to take the politics out of health and move our health system to a genuine public health model that respects staff while putting patients first. 

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