Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health David Cullinane TD has called on the Minister for Health to address outstanding pay inequality issues and capacity loss in his health plan, which he is due to publish on Tuesday.
Speaking today, Teachta Cullinane said: “I welcome Minister Donnelly’s commitment to publishing his plan for living with Covid-19 on Tuesday.
“It is late in the game but there is still time to protect capacity in the health service, deliver on key pay inequality and working conditions issues, and avoid a disastrous winter of overcrowding, understaffing, and further missed care.
“We are on track to have record waiting lists of over 900,000 by the end of the year and we are facing an unprecedented crisis in our health service.
“Healthcare heroes – from nurses and allied health professionals to consultants and doctors to medical scientists and laboratory workers – are overwhelmed by the workload.
“What is worse is that they are working in an understaffed environment, and many work in an unfair system of pay inequality with their peers.
“If we are to reward our healthcare workers for the Trojan work they have done on delivering Covid care, including those working on Covid testing, they need more than applause.
“I am hoping that Minister Donnelly will lay out a plan for change in health with concrete actions and timelines that will boost the health service.
“A detailed plan with targets and commitments on timelines will address the deficiencies in our testing and tracing regime.
“An ambitious plan for delivering a robust and proactive testing and tracing system in the next month is needed if we are to live with the virus.
“If the plan for living with the virus is simply a roadmap or a plan to take actions, that won’t be enough.
“There can be no return to business as usual. Unacceptable wait times and overcrowding in hospitals is not normal. It is a product of bad policies. We need a fresh start for health care.”