Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health David Cullinane TD has welcomed the publication of the new Sláintecare Implementation Strategy & Action Plan 2021-2023, has said it will be tested by progress on tackling waiting lists.
Teachta Cullinane welcomed progress to date on key measures, but said that overall progress since 2018 has been slow. He said that a step-change is needed to delivery single-tier universal healthcare.
Teachta Cullinane said:
“Today’s publication of the next Sláintecare implementation strategy is welcome as we begin to move out of the pandemic.
“Some progress was made since 2018 but it has been far from enough. Reform towards a top-class and robust universal healthcare system has been too slow and a step-change is needed to deliver on the commitments made.
“Covid-19 tested our healthcare system and pushed it to the brink. We have seen how embargoes on staff recruitment, pay issues, a specialist retention crisis, and a lack of investment in physical capacity have contributed to a weakened health service.
“Health and social care professionals, through their dedication to delivering care, saw us through the pandemic.
“They are exhausted, and many are contemplating leaving the health service after a brutal year. We need to give them reason to stay.
“We need to make the investments in capacity – in beds, theatres, equipment, and safe staffing levels – to give them a normal working week.
“Overtime has become the norm for health and social care professionals.
“There are long waiting times for most health and social care services – the new Sláintecare strategy will be tested by progress on tackling waiting lists.
“Developing the three elective hospitals rapidly will be central to this.
“Overcapacity is the norm in primary and community care, mental health services, acute hospitals, and services for older people and people with disabilities.
“We have almost 900,000 people on waiting lists, and disability services do not meet legal requirements – we see this across the board, most recently with 1300 people with disabilities placed in inappropriate and unregistered residential care centres.
“Delivering Sláintecare will take more than talk about reform. We need to deal with the inequalities in the health system, for patients and for staff, to make this happen.”