A NEW NATIONAL COMMUNITY HEALTH SERVICE AT HEART OF LABOUR POLICY

Earlier today, Tánaiste Joan Burton and Minister for Primary Health Care Kathleen Lynch launched Labour’s healthcare plan ‘Towards a new National Community Health Service’.

The Labour Party’s plan will:

  • Introduce universal GP care

  • Move closer to universal health care

  • Progressing smarter strategies for tackling the waiting lists crisis and A&E overcrowding

  • Reduce the costs of necessary medication

  • Enhance accountability in the management of the Irish Health system

Speaking at the launch in Cork this morning, Tánaiste Joan Burton said: “The last five years have been challenging for the health service and the people who work in it. It has been a time of change; a time of reform and a time when resources have been stretched. The sy stem is far from perfect. But there have also been significant successes.

  • In developing the treatment of chronic conditions

  • In improving the provision of mental health care

  • In reorganising the provision of hospital care by the formation of hospital groups

  • In expanding the network of primary care centres

“In our health plan which we publish today we set out an ambitious programme for the next five years and beyond. One of these steps will be a plan to increase the number of GPs. We will need to train more doctors. We will need to retain more doctors within the system. We will need to encourage some who have left the system to come back.”

Minister Kathleen Lynch added “Labour has had a positive influence on the development of healthcare policies over the past five years during a very difficult and fina ncially constrained time.

“As a Party at the heart of government we have been in a position to ensure that services for older people, those with disabilities and mental health needs were protected and developed. Furthermore, we delivered free GP care for the under 6s and over 70s.

“Given the potential to develop primary care the Labour Party believe it merits its own separate focus, its own budget and its own cabinet minister.”