Fianna Fáil has published extensive proposals to put patients at the heart of the health service and significantly improve access to healthcare for all, from community to hospital level.
The health policy document, Putting Patients and Services First, commits to a publicly delivered health care service that emphasises patients above structures. It also rejects the Government’s model of compulsory Universal Health Insurance, which will force a heavy cost burden onto families.
The Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Health Billy Kelleher explained, “We strongly believe the State must be actively involved in providing health care to our citizens. It is not good enough to shift the focus from the direct provision of quality care to simply regulating and overseeing healthcare providers and purchasers.
“Fianna Fáil’s proposals centre on a fundamental shift towards primary and community care and away from the overburdened acute hospital sector. Under our plans, healthcare will be closer to communities with more expert assessment and treatment of chronic illness in local settings. We plan to expand free GP care, ensuring that those who need it most and cannot afford it are given first priority.
“We are also committed to a new role for community pharmacists allowing them to provide additional vaccination services and the provision of a minor ailment scheme. We will abolish the €2.50 prescription charge over two years and reduce the threshold for the Drug Payment Scheme to €120 a month. This government pledged to abolish prescription charges and within a month of taking office, but instead it has increased them fivefold. We will get rid of these charges.
Deputy Kelleher has pledged the retention of the HSE as the basis of a national health service, but has emphasised that this is not an endorsement of how the HSE currently conducts itself.
“I want to see the HSE place greater emphasis on the service rather than the executive. It needs to be much more responsive and show a greater understanding of patient concerns. I am also promising to reactivate the National Treatment Purchase Fund to tackle record hospital waiting lists. Waiting lists have rocketed out of control since the abolition of the NTPF. I am setting an ultimate target that all patients who need hospital treatment will get it within the internationally accepted benchmark of six months.
“This plan is about building on what our health service currently offers, ensuring much greater access to quality care for all within the community, reducing the burden on acute hospitals and radically speeding up access to acute treatments. Revolutions and upheaval are not what patients need. We need a sustained focus on improving services for patients. That is our priority as a political party.”
You can read the document below or download it here