Health Reform Alliance Disappointed at Missed Sláintecare Deadline

Health and Social Care Charities call for Implementation Office to be set up without delay

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The Health Reform Alliance, a coalition of charities across the health and social care sector, has expressed disappointment as the first landmark deadline of the Sláintecare Report, the establishment of an Implementation Office in the Department of the Taoiseach by the end of July, has passed without any tangible action.

Paul Gordon, Chairperson of the Alliance said: “Despite the priority given to the Sláintecare Report by the Taoiseach following his appointment in June, there is neither sight nor sound of the proposed Implementation Office or of the Minister for Health’s detailed response to the Report.”

The Future of Healthcare Committee proposed setting up an Implementation Office under the auspices of An Taoiseach by the end of July 2017.

“This is the first landmark in the report by the Committee on the Future of Healthcare that has been missed, and we’re disappointed that reform of the health and social care system has fallen further behind already.”

Mr. Gordon said the Sláintecare Report is “a once-in-a-generation opportunity to offer meaningful reform, but it will falter without strong support. Leadership from the very top of Government will be needed if we want to succeed in delivering a health system focused on caring for all groups in our society. As a first step, the establishment of an Implementation Office, without further delay, would be a real statement of intent.”

In June, the Taoiseach tasked the Minister for Health with preparing a detailed response to the report, but this has yet to be presented to Cabinet.

Kathryn Reilly, also speaking on behalf of the Alliance, said: “We await the Minister for Health’s response with interest, and welcome the Taoiseach’s recent acknowledgement of the need to disentangle the public-private mix in our hospitals. However, to ensure real progress towards a single-tier system of healthcare that works for everyone in Ireland, the Government must avoid picking and choosing recommendations á la carte.”

“The Cross-Party consensus reached on the Future of Healthcare in drafting the Sláintecare Report, needs to be realised through its full implementation. Piecemeal change, based on political patronage and electoral cycles, has failed us in the past. The establishment of an Implementation Office will represent a good start, and can hopefully develop a roadmap to a single-tier system.”