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Government strategy to achieve National Health Service 'necessary in wake of Sláintecare resignation' - David Cullinane TD

9 September, 2021 - by David Cullinane TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health David Cullinane TD has said that the unexpected resignation of the Executive Director of Sláintecare implementation raises questions about the programme, and has called for clarity on the circumstances surrounding the departure. 

Teachta Cullinane also called on the Minister for Health to ensure the post is urgently filled on a permanent basis, and to lay out a clear strategy to achieve an Irish National Health Service. 

Teachta Cullinane said:

"The Minister for Health must lay out a clear strategy for achieving an Irish National Health Service and ensure top Sláintecare posts are urgently filled on a permanent basis

"I want to wish Ms Magahy and Dr Keane well in the next chapter of their careers.

"This unexpected departure demands clarity on the circumstances surrounding it, and the future of the position.

"We will be laying out a clear strategy to achieve an Irish National Health Service over two terms of Government in our Alternative Budget this year, including universal GP care.

"This was promised within 5 years of Sláintecare. We are more than halfway there, but no progress has been made.

"Progress towards a universal, single tier health service has been slow since the Sláintecare report because Government has not committed the funding to make it happen.

"The Minister talked the talk about funding last year, but the truth of the matter is that up to a third - €400m - of last year's new budget won't be spent this year. 

"That means a shortfall of 10-15% of beds promised this year ahead of a very difficult winter.

"That means 150 less acute beds and 10 less ICU beds than promised. 

"The promise of more than 15,000 staff could fall short by 50%, with poor progress made on implementing new Community Healthcare Networks. 

"The facts speak for themselves - waiting lists are spiralling out of control and healthcare is neither affordable nor accessible for most people.

"There are also more than 200,000 people on waiting lists for diagnostics, but no capacity has been added for those services.

"Our alternative budget for health this year will include a €150m fund for expanding diagnostic and theatre capacity to deliver more treatment in the public system. 

"Modernisation of the health service is key to delivering a fit for purpose NHS. 

"Currently there is no centralised referral system, no integrated waiting list system, and inaccurate data. That is a basis for failure."

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