Labour leader Kelly calls for 'rigidity' of Covid-19 roadmap to be relaxed

The Labour leader has called for Ireland's roadmap to be reduced from five to four stages, in order to restart medical services.
Labour leader Kelly calls for 'rigidity' of Covid-19 roadmap to be relaxed
Labour leader Alan Kelly

Alan Kelly says it is a "political decision" not to work to ensure non-Covid healthcare treatment is restarted.

The Labour leader has called for Ireland's roadmap to be reduced from five to four stages, in order to restart medical services.

"It is a political decision by Fine Gael, to ensure that the figures of people, the amount of people who are going to be affected from non Covid and the loss of treatment, the increased morbidity and increased mortality is a political decision because of the way in which they have acted," he said.

"The chances of being able to decrease that for those waiting on public lists has been affected increasingly, and as time goes on will get worse because of that political decision. So I want to ask, where is the plan?

"Why aren't they modelling this all the time? Why aren't they making quite public impacts of the lack of services across the whole of the HSE and the whole of healthcare?"

Dr Anthony O’Connor, a member of the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) consultants’ committee, told the special Covid-19 Oireachtas committee that public patients have been "completely locked out of care" and will continue to be for the "foreseeable future".

He added:

We started with 700,000 people on the waiting lists for hospital care and by the time we get back to work we are going to be dealing with at least six months’ pent-up demand and less capacity to deal with it.

In relation to the roadmap, and as Ireland is due to continue into phase two on Monday, opposition parties believe that it should be brought forward if virus spread continues to decrease. Labour believes this should be sped up in order to provide essential services for patients.

"The idea that we can put the whole country into hibernation, which was what was planned at the beginning and understandably so, but given where we are now, we need to look at living with the disease, and that includes healthcare; normal healthcare, the economic side of things, the social impacts and all three of them have impact on people's health care," he said.

"We need a plan for that, and the rigidity, by which decisions are being taken needs to be looked at.

"We need to look at what is now common sense, and how we can live with this virus, and how we can bring forward some aspects of the roadmap, which I think everybody now believes to a degree, should happen."

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