Kelleher accuses Health Minister of missing the point and calls for full reinstatement of NTPF

Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Health Billy Kelleher has said the Government is failing thousands of patients left languishing on hospital waiting lists after four years of failed policies and bogus budgets.

Deputy Kelleher has called on the Government to reinstate the National Treatment Purchase Fund in full to help clear the backlog of waiting lists and ease the pressure on the hospital network.

Deputy Kelleher made the comments after Health Minister Leo Varadkar said hospitals that are not following policy and are engaged in queue-skipping are in serious breach of Government policy.

Deputy Kelleher said: “The Minister seems to be completely missing the point.  The length of the waiting lists now after four years of failed policies highlights the scale of their broken promises on health.  Patients on waiting lists for operations or an outpatient appointment have been told they won’t be waiting longer than 18 months by the end of this month.  But the problem with this Government is they keep moving the goal posts.  Deadlines have been missed, moved and manipulated for years.

“I want to see a health service that is driven by care and compassion.  Under Fianna Fáil’s plan there will be no more bogus budgets or fake targets.  We will put an end to the cruelty and indignity that forces older patients and the families of sick young children to jump through hoops and mindless bureaucratic paperwork to get their basic entitlements.

“I want to streamline the health service.  I want to cut through the layers of bureaucracy that stand between patients and the excellent health care they need.  The sad reality after four years of failed policies from Fine Gael and Labour is that it has become harder to access hospital care.

“The Fianna Fáil plan for the future of Ireland’s health service is one that is patient-centred.  All patients deserve fair treatment in our Public Health Service regardless of their income level, social status or postcode.  I intend to pursue that agenda relentlessly.  I am calling on Minister Varadkar to reinstate the National Treatment Purchase Fund in full.  The NTPF used to help clear waiting lists but having been stripped of resources by Fine Gael all it has been able to do is watch out-patients waiting lists grow to over 400,000.  It is time for the Government to act.”