Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health Louise O’Reilly has expressed concern that there will be increased privatisation of healthcare under newly-appointed Minister Stephen Donnelly.
Speaking today, Teachta O’Reilly said: “Many people will wonder what Minister Donnelly stands for considering he didn’t produce a single health policy document in his time as Fianna Fáil health spokesperson.
“From his early media engagements since he became Minister, and from seeing him in action in the Dáil and the Oireachtas Health Committee, I fear that we are looking at the increased privatisation of healthcare in this state.
“What I have heard so far has left me concerned that instead of Sláintecare and a single tier health service, we will get further privatisation of services and the expansion of the two-tier system.
“The new Minister’s obsession with giving public funds to private hospitals through the NTPF is not the vision we need for our health service – we need public investment in public healthcare.
“Minister Donnelly has spent the weekend talking in the media about his wishes to accelerate Sláintecare, while also talking about providing affordable healthcare.
“This is a total contradiction – Sláintecare states that healthcare should be free where possible.
“I sincerely hope that the new Minister will make it a priority to meet with healthcare workers and their trade unions this week, and repair the damage and mistrust caused by the actions of his predecessors.
“Minister Donnelly has some way to go in this regard given some of his own outbursts towards the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation when they were appealing for better pay and conditions for nurses and midwives.
“It is one thing to understand the issues and crises across the health service, it is another to have the required solutions.
“The new Minister can be sure that as I did with his predecessor on Repeal, Covid-19, and other significant healthcare matters, I will work constructively with him and proffer solutions as I have always done.
“But Minister Donnelly can be sure that while I will be constructive, I will also hold him to account.
“I will expend every single ounce of energy I have to advance the cause of a single tier health service, so that people can access healthcare when they need it, where they need it, based on need, not ability to pay.”