Government Waiting List Plan is a wish list that will not fix our broken health service – David Cullinane TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health David Cullinane TD has criticised the Minister for Health’s Waiting List Action Plan as a wish list of repackaged measures that will not address the fundamental problems that are causing hospital waiting lists.
He said that every Minister for Health has promised to cut wait times, but have never brought forward the fundamental reforms needed to make these targets realistic, deliverable, and permanent.
Teachta Cullinane said that while all additional funding and measures to tackle waiting lists and cut wait times are welcome, we need a step change in investment and workforce planning to meet the capacity needs of the public health service.
He called on the Government to back up the waiting list plan with a proactive, joined up workforce development strategy to train, recruit, and retain more doctors, nurses, and allied health and social care professionals.
The Sinn Féin spokesperson said that Regional Health Areas, which the Government have yet to establish, must be the basis of reform and should be the delivery vehicle for permanently cutting wait times.
He also called on the Government to put up additional new capital expenditure to expedite theatre, ward, and diagnostics capacity expansion plan which hospitals are crying out for, and to speed up delivery of essential eHealth and ICT modernisation programmes in patient care records, a centralised referral system, an integrated waiting list management system, and an integrated financial management system.
Teachta Cullinane said:
“The Minister for Health’s Waiting List Action Plan will not fix our broken health service. It does not address the fundamental problems which are causing hospital waiting lists.
“We have had promises before from every Minister for Health to cut wait times, but the Government have never brought forward the fundamental reforms to make these targets realistic and deliverable.
“The Action Plan is a wish list of repackaged measures. Permanently cutting wait times need a serious workforce plan to train, recruit, and retain more doctors, nurses, and healthcare professionals.
“There is no new funding, particularly capital funding, to increase capacity in the public system – not terms of more beds and expanding wards, additional theatres, diagnostic equipment, or eHealth and ICT modernisation.
“There is no workforce plan. We cannot recruit and retain the staff we need – we need to train more healthcare professionals and there needs to be a joined up plan across Government, training bodies, and universities to meet health service staffing need.
“The Department of Health and the HSE are working in a silo, and there is not a joined up approach across Government to train and attract the necessary workers to safely and properly staff the Health Service.
“And there has been slow progress of Regional Health Areas, which should be the drivers of reform and accountable for cutting wait times and delivering major projects.
“Without a step change in investment, reform, and workforce planning, the fundamentals for cutting wait times are not there.
“This Government does not have the appetite or vision to fix our broken health service.”