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Sinn Féin launch All Ireland Health Policy

25 October, 2006

Sinn Féin Fermanagh South Tyrone MP Michelle Gildernew launched Sinn Fein's All Ireland Health Policy "Healthcare in an Ireland of Equals" in the Clinton Centre, Enniskillen on Wednesday 18th October at 8pm. Michelle Gildernew was accompanied by her colleagues Cllr Thomas O'Reilly MLA and Cllr John O'Dowd MLA, Sinn Féin's health spokesperson in leading a panel debate with various health professionals.

Speaking after the event Michelle Gildernew said:

"Access to decent healthcare is one of the biggest issues facing people today. North and South there is serious under funding of health services as well as ineffective use of available resources. The issue of health goes to the very core of our society, to the values and principles that make us who we are. Yet, every year thousands die because of the inequality in access to basic healthcare provision".

"The A&E crisis is the most acute symptom of a sick system. There are not enough beds in our hospitals. Because of the bed shortage, patients are waiting in A&E for many hours and often days to get beds in wards. A&E units in smaller hospitals have been closed, adding further to the pressure"

"Sinn Féin's goal is to create a United Ireland based on social justice, equality and democratic accountability, where health is not determined by wealth - nor by place of residence, gender or any other social status. As a party committed to cherishing all the children of the nation equally, Sinn Féin believes addressing these inequalities requires a radical republican approach underpinned by rights-based governance.

"This document follows on from our earlier health strategy discussion paper, Health for All (2001) and the Six County health strategy developed under the leadership of Sinn Féin Minister for Health Bairbre de Brún, Investing for Health (2002).

"We recognise that the realisation of this vision requires a genuine partnership and shared ownership with health service workers and service users to enact real change.

"Everyone has the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, everyone has the right to timely and appropriate high quality healthcare that is available in sufficient quantity and accessible to all without discrimination.

"Governments have a corresponding duty to take all necessary measures to ensure the full realisation of these rights, including measures for the prevention, treatment and control of epidemic, endemic, occupational and other diseases and the creation of conditions that assure access for all to medical services and medical attention in the event of illness or injury." ENDS

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