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Solution to waiting list crisis requires investment – Louise O’ Reilly TD

15 August, 2016 - by Louise O'Reilly TD

Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Louise O’Reilly has responded to comments made by Minister for Health, Simon Harris, indicating he would be willing to engage with Sinn Féin on a new single-tier waiting list system. The Comhliosta system, which was put forward by Sinn Féin, aims to maximise the capacity of the public hospital system and introduce fairness and strategic management across all waiting lists.

Deputy O’Reilly said:

“Previous waiting list initiatives had a localised or short-term effect but failed to challenge structural inequality. This cannot be allowed to continue. That is why Sinn Féin proposed ‘Comhliosta’ – a new system to deal with hospital waiting lists.

“Speaking last weekend, Minister Harris was reported to have agreed that this proposal was constructive and that he would be willing to discuss this with me. In that regard, I have contacted his office expressing my availability to meet on this important issue. Comhliosta is a proposal I will be putting forward to the Oireachtas committee on future healthcare, however with that report not being due until December, I do not think we can wait until then to advance this issue.

“While I do welcome the Minister’s reported willingness to consider the Comhliosta proposal, I would remain cautious about the success of any waiting list proposal without adequate investment, and this includes investment in recruitment. 

“We see currently the Government’s plans to pour more money into private activity to temporarily reduce waiting lists. They want to create more managers subsumed into the HSE to oversee waiting lists, but they do not sufficiently resource frontline services to meaningfully deal with the causes of the crisis. We believe that their five point plan will fail, like their previous one. There is no long-term thinking, nothing transformative and nothing sustainable.

“Front and centre of any of our meetings with Minister Harris and his officials on Comhliosta will be the need for increased and sustained investment, to ensure that this proposal is successful and not a publicity stunt. We await the response from the Minister and we hope that this proposal can be advanced.” ENDS

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