Fianna Fáil’s Health Spokesperson, Billy Kelleher TD has challenged the Minister for Health to focus on long-term investment in community, and primary health services, and not continually resort to acute services as a means of dealing with winter challenges in the health system.

Deputy Kelleher raised this issue in the Dáil today (18th October) as part of a series of oral questions.

“Year after year, we hear debate about the need to invest in primary care, and services that enable patient flow in the health system to improve.

“Year after year, nothing happens, and the HSE resorts to its now-annual winter health initiative as a means of dealing with overcrowding in the Irish health system.”

“There has never been as much support for a long-term plan to fund, and organise, the health system to improve patient outcomes. The Minister must use this opportunity to deliver for the Irish people.”

“The five year strategy which is due to be published later this year, must address the chronic, and systemic, under-funding of our primary health system.”

“Getting ahead of the challenges facing the health system must be the priority for the Minister. The firefighting of the past five years needs to end, and end quickly, otherwise, in 12 months’ time; the Minister will be forced to again re-announce the winter health initiative,” concluded Kelleher.