Fianna Fáil’s Spokesperson on Primary Care and Community Health, John Brassil TD has said that with Ireland’s health spending now at 170% of the OECD average, questions must be asked as to how we still have waiting lists for basic treatments, overcrowding in our Emergency Departments and a deluge of GPs leaving the sector.

“The Irish health budget in 2019 will reach €17 billion. That is a phenomenal level of funding, and I have no doubt that at the end of 2019, we will still have major issues in terms of citizens accessing basic services in a timely matter.

“Budget 2019 does not address some of the critical reforms needed to get value for money for citizens who are both paying for the health service and depending on it.

“Where is the ring-fenced budget for the implementation of SláinteCare, the plan to radically reform our health service?

“While €20 million has been ring-fenced for an innovation fund, this is nowhere near what is needed to start its implementation.

“As someone who has worked in the health service, on the front line, for the past 20 years, I know that reform is necessary to ensure that we get the best possible service for our people.

“As part of the review into the Confidence and Supply arrangement between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, I really do believe that an in-depth analysis of the health budget is needed. We cannot continue to just keep allocating more and more funding; we need smart investment,” concluded Brassil.