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Government's minimalist approach to healthcare reform a squandered opportunity as promise of major reform thrown out - David Cullinane TD

6 April, 2022 - by David Cullinane TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health David Cullinane TD has said that he is deeply frustrated and disappointed with the government decision to proceed with a minimalist approach to healthcare reform and Regional Health Areas.

He said that promised reforms have been thrown in the bin and that the opportunity to usher in a new era of better healthcare with more accountability will be squandered under the Minister’s plan.

Teachta Cullinane said:

“The government decision on minimalist Regional Health Areas, as defended by the Department and the HSE in the Health committee this morning, is deeply disappointing and frustrating.

“Promised reforms have been thrown in the bin and the opportunity to usher in a new era of better healthcare with greater transparency and accountability will be squandered.

“The government have reduced major reforms to a minimalist administrative rearrangement of the HSE. They have abandoned even the pretence of real change and are simply rearranging the deck chairs.

“More of the same will not deliver a single tier health system.

“There will be no significant reform, no legislative reform, and the new structures will not be able to enter into contracts without central approval.

“The government’s version of RHAs will continue to be encumbered by bureaucracy waiting on approval from the centre, the same as the current failed approach, instead of the lean HSE with more transparency and accountability that was promised.

“This will be a huge let down for patients and advocates right across the health service that want real change in healthcare.

“This was an opportunity to usher in a new era of patient care, of improved accountability and transparency, and better healthcare services.

“It is clear to see now why the senior resignations from the Sláintecare programme and advisory council occurred.

“Tragically, given the minimalist approach put forward by the Minister, I imagine their worst fears have been realised.

“This is a bad day for the 1.3 million people on waiting lists across hospitals, diagnostic services, and community services.

“Sinn Féin is committed to major healthcare reform that will deliver greater accountability and transparency, a leaner HSE centre with less bureaucracy, and accountable autonomy at local and regional level with the capacity to deliver quicker for patients.

“The Minister’s plan will ensure that the fundamentals for tackling the many crises in healthcare will not be put in place.”

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