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Louise O’Reilly TD urges Health Minister to adopt integrated waiting list system

21 September, 2016 - by Louise O'Reilly TD

Responding to comments made in the Select Committee on the Future of Healthcare, from the chief information officer of the HSE that a proposal for an integrated waiting list is with the Minister for Health, Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Louise O’Reilly has called on the Minister to adopt this proposal, as put forward by Sinn Féin, and to ensure that it is properly resourced.

Deputy O’Reilly said:

“Last week I questioned the Chief Information Officer of the HSE on the potential for adopting a single integrated waiting list system in Ireland, as proposed by Sinn Féin and modelled on the Portuguese system. To that end he advised the Committee that, as part of a digital challenge solution to the waiting list crisis, his Department included a proposal on an integrated waiting list. Minister Harris has also advised through email that he will be considering it in the context of the waiting list initiatives.

“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. Indeed, previous waiting list initiatives had a localised or short-term effect but failed to challenge the structural inequality.

“What concerns me about the digital package solution that has been presented to the Minister is that the funding for the full realisation of it, as well as what is needed to ensure the success of any integrated waiting list system, will not materialise. We cannot have, or indeed afford, half-hearted responses to this crisis. This is a critical infrastructural investment for the future.

“From the comments in committee, the digital package calls for only an additional €1million spend. However, in our Better4Health document, we have said that we would make a budget of €10 million available to create our own IT system, using the Portuguese system as a model over the timeframe of the document. We would also allocate a budget, rising to €100 million annually, for Comhliosta transfer activity. This is the level of investment necessary to make the system work and I will be calling on the Minister to ensure that this happens, should he take this proposal on board.

“We see currently the Government’s plans to pour more money into private activity to temporarily reduce waiting lists. However, the Minister cannot ignore the need for increased and sustained investment in public services, to ensure that this particular proposal is successful and not a publicity stunt.”

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