"Health spending without strategy for equality will not address the crisis" - Ó Caoláin
Commenting on the Estimates for Health, Sinn Féin Health and Children spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD stated:
“While the Health budget has risen the reality is that it continues to be ploughed into a system that is both inefficient and inequitable because of the two-tier delivery of healthcare. We are not making the best use of facilities in public hospitals because they are shared with the private system. Consultants continue to be paid by the State while working in both public and private healthcare.
“The two-tier system with two waiting lists and two levels of care is being reinforced by Health Minister Harney with her private hospital co-location scheme. She confirmed in reply to a Dáil Question from me this week that she intends that contracts for the 10 private hospitals on public hospital sites will be signed by the first quarter of 2007. No cost-benefit analysis has been done on this scheme which has met with widespread opposition.
“There is no strategy or special funding allocation for the provision of the additional 3000 acute hospital beds needed. The HSE says that number is not needed while the Minister continues to pay lip-service to the Government’s commitment to deliver them. The reality is that this commitment has been dumped, together with much of the Government’s 2001 Health Strategy, including the Primary Care Strategy.
“Health spending was slashed in the 1980s and early ‘90s and we are still trying to recover. Increased health spending without a strategy for equality will not address the long-term crisis in the system.”