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Universal health care should be delivered across island – O’Reilly, O'Neill

22 November, 2016 - by Michelle O'Neill, Louise O'Reilly TD

Sinn Féin have stated that health care should be free at the point of delivery across the island of Ireland and the only way to achieve this is to have an all-Ireland health system.

Speaking ahead of the launch of the ‘Towards a United Ireland’ discussion document, Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Louise O'Reilly TD said:

“We need a new model of health care, which will deliver for our people, meet the challenges of the 21st century, make the most of key medical advances and address changes in our population, while supporting all our staff.

“This cannot be done on the operation of two back-to-back health systems.

“Sinn Féin believes healthcare must be developed on an all-Ireland basis. 

“We believe we should move from increased cooperation to ultimately full integration of services on the island, maximising the healthcare benefits for all and achieving greater economies of scale.

“Currently, the Oireachtas All-Party Committee on Future Healthcare is developing a ten-year plan for healthcare in the South, and movement towards an all-Ireland health service should be part of this.

“Today, I am meeting health academics in London, including Professor Allyson Pollock, to discuss how to fight privatisation and how to move towards an all-Ireland universal health system, exploring the feasibility of the introduction of an NHS bill.

“It is only within a united Ireland that we can reconfigure how we deliver health services across Ireland, which delivers for all the people on the island.”

Joining Deputy O’Reilly, the Assembly’s Health Minister Michelle O’Neill said:

“An all-Ireland health service would benefit hugely from the sharing of acute hospital, community health and general medical services.

“All-island health planning would develop and distribute health services in the most efficient manner.

“There are multiple examples in which better health services are delivered through an all-island approach: shared radiotherapy and paediatric cardiac services; health promotion focusing on alcohol, tobacco and obesity; cancer research; mental health; and suicide prevention.

“People should have the same access to health care, whether they're in Belfast, Dublin, Cork or Derry.

“A united Ireland will be a new Ireland and a real opportunity for the development of a National Health Service.” 

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