Health Reform Alliance welcomes Sláintecare Report and calls for public support from FG leadership

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Wednesday, 30 May – The Health Reform Alliance has called on the two Fine Gael leadership candidates to support the Sláintecare Report which urges the scrapping of the two tier health system and promotes access to healthcare on the basis of need, not ability to pay.

According to the Health Reform Alliance (HRA), which brings together voices across the health and social care sectors, the recommendations of the Sláintecare Report launched today represent a “once-in-a-generation opportunity” to end unequal access to health and social care services. However, the Alliance says that leadership from the top of Government and strong political will is critical if progress is to be made.

Chairperson of the Health Reform Alliance, Paul Gordon said: “This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to offer meaningful reform, and implementation of the report’s recommendations will require strong Government 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”.

“The Committee on the Future of Healthcare has worked hard to build cross-Party consensus in a policy area which has often been defined by hotchpotch, piecemeal change. We are calling on Ministers Coveney and Minister Varadkar to be leaders of the change required in the Irish healthcare system by declaring their commitment to establish the proposed Implementation Office within the Department of the Taoiseach by the report’s July deadline”.

Also speaking following the publication of the report, Kathryn Reilly, member of the HRA’s executive, said, “This report provides a clear vision for a system of healthcare that treats everyone equally, and where the ability to pay for care is no longer a matter of life and death. Implementation of the report will bring Ireland’s healthcare system closer to the principles of the Health Reform Alliance which are focused on providing universally available, equitable, needs-focused, health and social care services, and that work for everyone in Ireland.

“Welcome measures include the provision of enhanced universal access to primary care, home care and diagnostics, the extension of essential healthcare in areas such as social care, with a reduction in out-of-pocket expenses for hospital care and medication. Plans to enhance capacity in acute care, to offer universal access to diagnostics and to ensure that care is given at the lowest level of complexity also have the potential to substantially improve outcomes for all.”

Mr. Gordon noted: “The Committee has also made commitments to disentangle private care from the public system, which will be vitally important in making a decisive break with a two-tier system. While the report makes a couple of key recommendations to achieve that, the proposed Implementation Office will need to spell out the process of disentanglement in greater detail.”

The Health Reform Alliance commended the Oireachtas Committee members on their work, and Mr. Gordon hailed the Deputies’ “collaboration not just with each other across party lines, but with various interest groups, to offer a new way of working that will hopefully result in a remaking of our health services for the betterment of the whole of Irish society.”