Fianna Fáil General Election candidate for Mayo Cllr. Lisa Chambers says her party is the only one with a credible plan to tackle the crisis in our health system, brought about as a result of failed Fine Gael policies.  Fianna Fáil outlined it’s priorities for health this week, which include a commitment to recruit more doctors and nurses, bring back the National Treatment Purchase fund to reduce waiting times, and a core investment into community healthcare.

Cllr. Chambers explained, “Over the past 5 years, we have seen services here in Mayo decimated by Fine Gael trying to implement universal health insurance, while neglecting basic services in the process.  After attempting to shoe-horn the concept of UHI for the last 5 years, the Health Minister has now conceded that it cannot be achieved.  While the Government was pursuing this flawed plan, services here in Mayo were being slashed.

“The situation at Mayo General Hospital has deteriorated dramatically in recent years.  The closure of Roscommon A&E has increased the pressure on the ED in Mayo, which now regularly has patients waiting on trolleys for hours.  Other services have been transferred to University Hospital Galway, which itself is creaking under the strain, and waiting lists are continuing to soar.  Last month, there were 843 patients waiting over one year for outpatient appointments – a rise of 100 on December’s figures.

“Waits for physiotherapy services for arthritis patients in the West is 2.5 years, compared to 6 months in the East, and there are twice the number of rheumatologists on the eastern seaboard compared to the west – which underlines the growing inequality of this Government’s policies.

“Fianna Fáil’s priority over the next five years is to put in place permanent and sustainable improvements to our health service. We will be ambitious but realistic but all our actions will be about providing a better health service for patients.  We will recruit 500 extra consultants, 4,000 additional nursing staff and 50 dental surgeons as well as reactivating the National Treatment Purchase Fund to cut waiting times. The Rural GP allowance will be increased to €25,000 and we will abolish prescription charges on a phased basis.

“We will not be making promises we cannot keep.  Our main is to ensure equality and fairness across this health service and this plan can achieve that”.