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Sinn Féin embark upon nationwide outreach on a National Health Service for Ireland – O’Reilly

27 January, 2017 - by Louise O'Reilly TD

Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Louise O’Reilly TD will begin a process of outreach and stakeholder engagement on a National Health Service for Ireland in Ballinasloe and Mullingar on Monday 30th January.

The campaign, designed to consult and engage with health workers, unions and members of the public on a new vision for the Irish health service, will propose a radical shift in thinking on the need for an Irish National Health Service.

Deputy O’Reilly said:

“People have looked enviously to the National Health Service in Britain, but at the same time, are afraid of it. They are scaremongered into believing that an NHS for Ireland is unattainable; that it is too costly. This scaremongering is allied to efforts to push citizens into the private health market.

“For the first 40 years of its operation, the NHS was the lowest cost, most efficient and fairest system. The NHS guaranteed health care to all citizens without fear of catastrophic health care costs or being denied care. 

“Unfortunately, that system was incrementally dismantled. The Tory Government, following a decade of incremental changes to the NHS, have moved to push the NHS to privatisation. But we in Sinn Féin are not afraid to replicate its best bits at its inception; its core principles; its vision; in the realisation of our own project.

“Sinn Féin is committed to the establishment of an Irish National Health Service, free at the point of delivery and where patients are treated on the basis of medical need and nothing else. 

“There are very clear opportunities within a united Ireland to reconfigure how we deliver health services across Ireland.  We strongly believe that it is necessary to legislate to place a duty on the Minister to provide services throughout Ireland. That is the only way to overcome the fragmentation, imbalance and inequity in resources.

“The engagement we are embarking upon is part of a process to highlight to people the system that they should be demanding of their elected representatives, that puts their health firmly at the centre of health deliberations, irrespective of income. In 2015, we published, Better4Health, a concise health policy document on a 5 year plan for health and we are drawing on this in our engagements.

“I will be starting this engagement in Ballinasloe and Mullingar on Monday 30th and this will be ongoing in the Midlands North West for February, before going to other areas.” 

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