Health Reform Alliance calls for expansion of entitlements in Budget 2018

The Health Reform Alliance has today outlined a number of key areas of investment aimed
towards expanding health and social care entitlements. The alliance of health and social
care charities has called for investment in ‘cradle to grave’ care that looks after everyone
in Ireland.

Paul Gordon, co-chair of the Health Reform Alliance said: “In Budget 2018, the
Government needs to make a statement of intent that shows it is serious about health and
social care on the basis of need and not the size of your pay packet. The Taoiseach and
Minister for Health have spent recent months lionising the Sláintecare report and now the
Government has to put its money where its mouth is.”

The Sláintecare report, which was published with cross-Party consensus in June, sets out a
ten year plan to progress to a system of universal healthcare. Its implementation office
will be set up by the end of the year, but the Alliance believes momentum needs to gather
before then.

Kathryn Reilly, co-chair of the Alliance said: “A delay in setting up the implementation
office was disappointing and to maintain the momentum generated by the report’s
publication in June, we need to see targeted investment in a number of areas to ensure
that everyone in Ireland sees the benefits of the report”.

Mr. Gordon added that: “While we recognise the limited room for manoeuvre in terms of
money available in this Budget, the Government must use the available space of circa
€118million within the health vote’s current expenditure ceiling for 2018 to prioritise
expansion of entitlements in certain areas”.

“Ultimately, Budget 2019 will act as the litmus test for Sláintecare as the fiscal space
expands, and as the Implementation Office further develops its implementation planning.
However, we believe the expanded expenditure ceiling for 2018 should be used to invest
in ‘cradle to grave’ care that benefits people of all ages.”

Ms. Reilly said: “We are calling for investment in our children’s health and wellbeing, the
reduction of out of pocket payments which rose exponentially over the course of the
recession, the expansion of diagnostics into the community, additional investment in
much-needed homecare, and the expansion of services for people with disabilities.”

The Health Reform Alliance is calling for Minister Paschal Donohoe to earmark the
following areas for investment:

  • €8.3million to resource and develop a child health and wellbeing service
  • €25million to abolish hospital inpatient charges €25 million to expand diagnostics into primary care settings
  • €24 million to expand homecare
  • €29 million to improve and expand services for people with disabilities
  • €8million in increased expenditure on palliative care

Total: €119.3 million*

Ms. Reilly said: “The Health Reform Alliance supports Sláintecare because it wants a
health and social care system that is focused on the needs of all social groups. We
recognise that all the measures targeted for year one in the Sláintecare report may not
happen this year due to budgetary restrictions, but we need to make a start and we
believe our proposals will improve the lives of children, families, young people, older
people and people with disabilities or impairments, and people at the end of life.”

The Health Reform Alliance has previously spoken on the need for continued engagement
by all political parties to keep Sláintecare on the policy agenda.

Speaking on the publication of a number of alternative budgets, Paul Gordon said: “We are
heartened by the fact that a number of Parties’ alternative Budgets have included significant commitments to, and investments in, Sláintecare. The Cross-Party consensus
that was forged in the report needs to be carried on so that Sláintecare forms the bedrock of healthcare policy for the next ten years.”

* All of these measures were costed in the Sláintecare report.