Health Reform Alliance welcomes Sláintecare Implementation Strategy

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The Health Reform Alliance has today welcomed the publication of the Sláintecare Implementation Strategy by the Minister for Health, calling it “an important step on the road to universal healthcare in Ireland”. The Alliance, however, has highlighted the absence of costings in the strategy and called for a commitment for multi-annual funding to be made from Budget 2019 on.

Paul Gordon, Co-Chair of the Health Reform Alliance said: “The Minister for Health has demonstrated ongoing commitment to implementation of the Sláintecare Report, culminating in the publication today of the Implementation Strategy. The Health Reform Alliance welcomes his continued support for universal health care and the publication of this strategy, but greater clarity is needed on costings and funding needed to progress the report.”

“This is an important step on the road to universal healthcare in Ireland. However, while we note that a further action plan is to be published by the Sláintecare Executive Director by year end, there is a real danger that progress could be stymied by disagreement with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform during the Budget estimates process.”

Kathryn Reilly, Co-Chair of the Health Reform Alliance said: “While the publication of the Government’s Sláintecare implementation strategy for the first three years is welcome, the delay in producing a detailed action plan until the end of the year risks further postponement of the introduction of important reform measures. That is why the HRA are calling for costings to be provided on the measures, as well as commitment to investment in Budget 2019.”

“The Implementation Strategy commits to the establishment of a transition fund in the 2018/2019 period, yet it is unclear if discussions with the relevant Government Departments have taken place yet in the context of the estimates process.”

“The transitional fund is critical in the implementation of Sláintecare and its inclusion in the strategy is a strong signal of Minister Harris’ intent. However, the fund must be resourced in line with the Sláintecare report.”

“The Departments of Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform must support this proposal and ensure that current health spend overruns do not negatively impact on the development of the transition fund. It cannot be conflated with the overall health budget and Government Departments must agree to its establishment as a multi-annual fund.”