Waiting times are worse than ever and hospitals are overcrowded. I am committed to a single health system that works for everyone, where everyone gets equally good quality medical treatment. The roadmap should be the agreed all-party SláinteCare Report. But Government hasn’t made any serious headway in delivering a changed system.
We all want a world-class National Children’s Hospital, but why must it be the world’s most expensive hospital ever built? The Government has overspent massively, ignored advice from the IMF, and failed miserably to monitor rising costs.
Labour will end the de facto HSE recruitment embargo and the over-reliance on agency staff. The Government is spending over €320 million every year on health agency staff, which costs up to 20% more than directly employed staff. We can get better value for money by lifting the embargo, reducing over-reliance on temporary workers and recruiting permanent professionals.
We need to implement an investment plan to deliver more hospital beds and staff, to end the crisis of overcrowding and waiting lists.
Labour will redirect funding to more local primary care centres closer to communities, which will provide medical tests, disability supports, mental health services and help people to manage long-term disease like diabetes. Having more staff in primary care centres will mean fewer people travelling to hospitals. That will reduce overcrowding and waiting times. And the primary care setting will provide administrative support, better equipment and other incentives to make the career of GP more attractive and to improve retention levels, including in rural Ireland.
Labour will reduce the pressure on hospitals by increased funding for home help and respite care, so that more people can be cared for in their own homes. We will also increase the number of step-down beds, and allow people to transition from acute hospital settings back to their own home.
Read more on our policies to end healthcare inequality here.