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Health policy cannot be made on the back of elections, scandals or negligence – O’Reilly

1 June, 2016 - by Louise O'Reilly TD

Speaking today on the Dáil motion to establish an All-Party Committee to develop a single long term vision plan for healthcare, Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Louise O’Reilly TD highlighted the need for a fundamental reorientation of the health system, calling for a universal health system. She further noted that the work of the committee work should not be a box ticking exercise.

Deputy O’Reilly said:

“Everyone wants an efficient, fair and humane health service. Currently, our health system is in a state of crisis. We all know people who have been let down and failed by the two tier health system. We know people who cannot afford health insurance but have borrowed money to get a diagnostic test privately because the time they are expected to wait in the public system could put their lives at risk. And we know people who can neither afford insurance nor to borrow for healthcare but who have to wait. 

“There can no longer be policy made on the back of elections, scandals or negligence. There needs to be a blueprint and a plan.  I hope that this committee will not just be an exercise in electoral platitudes or to be seen as ticking the box. 

“My grave concern with this process Minister is that the report, the recommendations, the expert opinion, potential models and stakeholder engagement will be discarded if it is seen to run contrary to the Minister’s agenda for health as stated in the Programme for Government.

“Let me be clear, there are very large swathes of the programme for government to which I cannot sign up.  I will not sign up to an agenda for privatisation, whether it be outright or through the backdoor. This is completely at odds with the realisation of a universal healthcare system.

“I, on behalf of my party, will be advocating for healthcare as a right. The model of universal healthcare Sinn Féin is working to achieve includes GP and other primary care, including allied health professionals, medicines, dentistry, hospital care and long-term care. Quality of care is essential and must be at the core of the service.

“Sinn Féin believes healthcare must be developed on an all-Ireland basis and as part of this process, I will be proposing that an invitation is extended to the Health Minister in the Executive to make a presentation so that this important aspect of health policy is not excluded” 

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