Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health David Cullinane TD has criticised the Minister for Health’s Waiting List Action Plan for 2023, saying that the Plan lacks ambition and lowers targets.
He said that the action plan last year was to cut waiting lists by more than 130,000 but failed to make any significant impact. The total number of patients on all hospital waiting lists declined by less than 10,000 last year. The number of long waiters remains at over 170,000.
The TD for Waterford said that the plan is another short-term, more-of-the-same approach, which fails to resource the substantial increase in public capacity which is needed.
He said that the plan is overly reliant on private outsourcing, which he says will be further embedded in the health service without a change of approach.
Teachta Cullinane said:
“The Minister for Health’s waiting list plan for 2023 is disappointing. It fails to set out a real multi-annual plan for the health service.
“The plan lacks ambition in terms of targets and investment.
“Last year’s short-term, single-year plan failed to come close to its targets. Waiting lists were reduced, at a generous count, by 4%. The overall effect was closer to 1%. The target was an 18% reduction, which is now down to 10%.
“The number of people waiting longer than a year remains at over 170,000.
“Instead of setting out real measures to ratchet up capacity and expand the health workforce, the Minister has produced another short-term, single-year plan, but this time with lesser targets.
“This short-term, more-of-the-same approach failed to meet targets last year and will continue to fail to meet Sláintecare targets because the Minister has not taken a firm grasp of capacity planning.
“The Minister has failed to deliver real change in multi-annual planning, workforce development, primary and community care reform, or the delivery of essential elective hospitals and surgical hubs.
“Instead of public investment, the Minister will continue to rely on the private sector to deliver more and more capacity. The result will be to further embed private healthcare in the public system, bringing us further away from the type of health service that people want.”