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Resignations signal deep concerns about promised healthcare reforms - David Cullinane TD

13 September, 2021 - by David Cullinane TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health David Cullinane TD has responded to the resignation of the chair of the South/South West Hospital Group, Geraldine McCarthy, which follows the unexpected resignation of the Executive Director of Sláintecare implementation and the chair of the implementation team.

He said the resignations raise serious questions about the programme and wider healthcare reform, and has called for clarity on the circumstances surrounding their departures. 

Teachta Cullinane also called on the Minister for Health to urgently appear before the Health Committee to discuss the resignations and to bring clarity where chaos currently exists. 

Teachta Cullinane said:

"The Minister for Health must lay out a clear strategy for achieving an Irish National Health Service, and ensure top Sláintecare posts are urgently filled on a permanent basis.

"The departure of the chair of the South/South West Hospital Group follows last week's shock departure by those responsible for delivering Sláintecare. .

"These unexpected departures demand clarity on the circumstances surrounding it, and the future of the position.

"We will be laying out a clear strategy to achieve an Irish National Health Service over two terms of government in our Alternative Budget this year, including universal GP care.

"This was promised within five years of Sláintecare. We are more than halfway there, but no progress has been made.

"Progress towards a universal, single tier health service has been slow since the Sláintecare report because government has not committed the funding to make it happen.

"The Minister talked the talk about funding last year, but the truth of the matter is that up to a third - €400m - of last year's new budget won't be spent this year. 

"That means a shortfall of 10 to 15% of beds promised this year ahead of a very difficult winter.

"That means 150 less acute beds and 10 fewer ICU beds than promised. 

"The promise of more than 15,000 staff could fall short by 50%, with poor progress made on implementing new Community Healthcare Networks. 

"The facts speak for themselves - waiting lists are spiralling out of control and healthcare is neither affordable nor accessible for most people.

"There are also more than 200,000 people on waiting lists for diagnostics, but no capacity has been added for those services.

"Our Alternative Budget for health this year will include a €150m fund for expanding diagnostic and theatre capacity to deliver more treatment in the public system. 

"Modernisation of the health service is key to delivering a fit for purpose NHS. 

"Currently there is no centralised referral system, no integrated waiting list system, and inaccurate data. That is a basis for failure."

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