Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health, David Cullinane TD, has called on the Minister for Health and CEO of the HSE to take a hands-on, serious, and strategic multi-annual approach to investment and reform in the health service.
The Waterford TD said that three, five, and ten-year horizons needed to be planned for as a replacement for the failed winter plan approach.
Teachta Cullinane made the remarks in response to the announcement by the CEO of the HSE, Mr Bernard Gloster, that the HSE will move away from winter-only plans.
Teachta Cullinane said:
“This change of tack from the CEO of the HSE is an admission that the previous approach had failed to tackle the crisis in hospitals.
“The winter plan approach has failed patients and workers. The trolley crisis is now a year-round scandal, emergency department waits are nearly 12 hours on average, and more than 500,000 people are on waiting lists for appointments longer than 3 months.
“The HSE must urgently move to multi-annual planning of investment and reform to boost capacity and integrate services and management.
“This has to include GP, primary, and community care, access to diagnostics, home support and transitional care, digitisation, integration, and set clear timeframes for reaching targets.
“All of this must be underpinned by joined up, strategic workforce planning, which includes the health service and higher education institutes.
“The Minister for Health needs to take a hands-on, serious, and strategic multi-annual approach to investment and reform in the health service. He needs to be planning for three, five, and ten-year horizons.
“The winter plan has only ever been short-term window dressing and a rehashing of previously announced measures. It was never accompanied with serious new investment.
“HSE targets, set by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael Governments, have always been too low, and even then, they have been missed. The Government announced 1,200 new beds three years ago and 20% have not been delivered yet.
“Sustained multi-annual investment, planned strategically, is needed to deliver the capacity and implement the reforms which the health service needs.”