Sinn Féin would end 'deeply unfair two-tier health service' – David Cullinane TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health David Cullinane TD has said that Sinn Féin would deliver a new approach to healthcare and end the two-tier health service.
Teachta Cullinane made the remarks at the Irish Hospital Consultants’ Association annual conference in Dublin on Saturday, where he spoke about Sinn Féin’s plans to develop the health workforce, deliver a new contract for doctors, and reform the health service.
Teachta Cullinane said:
“More than 5 years on from the Sláintecare report, and we are yet to agree a new, public-only consultant contract or to resolve long-standing disputes with workers from junior doctors to medical scientists.
“There are few quick wins in healthcare, but there are things we can do this year, and over the coming years, which would make that dream a reality.
“The first thing we must do is dispense with short-termism, and with the notion that short-term plans can solve long-term problems.
“We cannot deliver change in healthcare in a few weeks. We will not clear the backlog on waiting lists right across the health service in just a few months.
“We need a new approach. We need an ambitious plan, set out over a 10-year period, to tackle the challenges facing the health service: the recruitment and retention crisis; the lack of capacity in our hospitals, and the 20th century IT systems which are holding workers back.
“We need a new consultant contract. There is an obligation on all of us to deliver that.
“What matters most to me is that it is a contract which will work for the next and current generation of doctors, which will attract and retain the best in the business to provide care in public hospitals to public patients.
“We must end the deeply unfair two-tier health service, but we must also end the unfair two-tier pay system.
“We must also address working conditions and workforce challenges which run much deeper.
“We cannot continue to allow a situation in the health service which drives our young doctors and nurses to emigrate, to the benefit of Australia.”
“Sinn Féin would establish a high-level workforce group, led at the highest level by an Taoiseach, the Minister for Health, the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, and the Minister for Further and Higher Education, to set out workforce targets on a multi-annual basis.”