The health plan published by the Labour party today is wildly unrealistic and unachievable over a five year says Fianna Fáil Health Spokesperson Billy Kelleher.

“It beggars belief that a party that made so many promises in 2011, and broke so many promises after 2011, should now try to repeat it all over again.  The Labour party is promising universal free GP care by 2021 – something they also promised by 2016. To do this they say that they’ll recruit more than 1,400 GPs. This is not remotely realistic. Given that there are currently 160 places trained per year, you’d have to double those numbers and hope that no-one retires or opts to work abroad”, he explained.

“Labour also pledges 1,500 new hospital beds at a cost of €557 million. The HSE told Fianna Fáil in reply to a parliamentary question earlier this year that the ‘existing built infrastructure in our hospital system could not accommodate’ 1,500 additional beds and that to ‘introduce this number of beds a new build would be required’.

“The HSE also estimated the capital cost of 1,500 new beds at €1.5 bn. The Labour party does not seem to have made an allocation for this in either the Labour health plan today or their economic plan published earlier in the week.

“Additionally, 1,500 beds is about two and a half times the capacity of the Mater Hospital in Dublin. Is it really likely that such a number could be provided within five years?

“Five years ago the Labour party promised universal health insurance and free GP care by 2016. Neither happened and now they seem to think they can make the same over the top promises yet again. The people won’t be fooled.”