Fianna Fáil General Election candidate for Mayo Cllr. Lisa Chambers says the Health Minister’s decision to abandon Fine Gael’s key policy of Universal Health Insurance reflects the fact that the Government is not prepared to keep any of its election promises. Despite being one of Fine Gael’s key issues in its 5 point plan, UHI has been tossed aside as the crisis in our health service escalates.
Cllr. Chambers said, “Health services in Mayo and right across the country have suffered immensely under this Fine Gael-Labour Government. Emergency Departments are in crisis, waiting lists have sky rocketed and morale among front line staff has never been worse. Ministers Reilly and Varadkar talked about change, promising that Universal Health Insurance would make things better, and now its revealed that UHI will never see the light of day.
“Only 18 months ago the Taoiseach reconfirmed his commitment to compulsory health insurance claiming that “The model of UHI being proposed is based on an examination of UHI systems in a number of other countries. But ultimately the Minister for Health is proposing a model of healthcare that is best suited to the circumstances of Ireland. UHI will not cost more than the two tier system which it replaces “. And in July this year Minister Leo Varadkar appeared confident that UHI was still on the agenda commenting, “I think it could be done within the term of the new government. In fact, I am sure of it”.
“This sudden u-turn throws up a range of questions about why the Government spent four years promising a health plan that was never feasible. It proves what Fianna Fáil has been saying for more than three years. UHI is a flawed concept that would cost too much and deliver no real improvements. So now we have the worst of both worlds – an over stretched, overburdened health system with no real plan to fix it.
“The Government does not appear to grasp the gravity of the situation. Its cornerstone health policy has been cast aside and it is not even offering any solutions. Patients are the victims of this calamity. There were almost 400 people on trolleys yesterday, thousands more are languishing on waiting lists, while others are waiting days for a GP appointment. The Government consistently beats the “recovery” drum, there appears to be very little evidence of this recovery in our health system”.