Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Primary Care John Brassil TD, who served as a member of the All Party Committee on the Future of Healthcare that produced the Sláintecare report, has given his response to the publication of a Government Implementation Strategy for the report.

Deputy Brassil said, “The 2017 Sláintecare report set out a blueprint whereby we can make significant progress over a ten-year period. It recognises that nothing can be solved overnight, but that ten years is a realistic timeframe. As a committee, we set out what needs to be done in each individual area and we provided funding and costing models for those individual areas.

“Sadly, the Government has reacted to the report with lip service but no real sense of urgency. In the fifteen months since we published the report, the ‘winter crisis’ in our Emergency Departments has extended into spring and summer. The Implementation Strategy is being published on a day when our nurses are reporting 520 patients on trolleys – a total that is unprecedented for August.

“And when we examine the long awaited Implementation Strategy we see that it now promises more strategies and plans. A detailed ‘Action Plan’ is pledged within three months. We can also expect a ‘citizen care masterplan’ at some stage. Next year we can expect a multi-annual inpatient waiting list action plan and a multi-annual outpatient waiting list action plan.

“Then with regard to the proposed expansion of eligibility for care that was intrinsic to Sláintecare, we are also promised further reviews, frameworks and proposals over the next two years. In effect the Government is telling us that it doesn’t yet know how to actually implement Sláintecare or how much it will cost.

“In its response it is clear that the Government is now matching its lack of urgency with a lack of detail.”