In response to the recent publication of the Fine Gael/Fianna Fáil framework document, we welcome the promise to expedite Sláintecare and the reiteration of the commitment to universal healthcare services. Ireland’s response to Covid-19 has shown the pressing need to deliver a single-tier health system and our capacity to create — albeit temporarily — a universal health service.
The prioritisation of children’s health and women’s health is also welcome and the plan to ensure that all future consultant contracts in the public system will be for public services builds confidence in the way forward.
We hope that a new programme for government will add to the stated
values of “community and solidarity”, the essence of equality, so all people can access the right care, at the right time and in the right place, without reference to ability to pay.
The pandemic has further exposed, and exacerbated, health inequalities in our society, including those that disproportionately impact on minority ethnic groups, including Travellers and Roma; on people who are homeless, and people living in overcrowded and unsuitable direct provision accommodation. We need a health system that can confront inequities and which will value all key workers, including home-care workers, hospital cleaners, and healthcare assistants, providing them with job security and a fair income.
We are concerned at the absence of older people, and their health and care needs and services, in the framework document. The Covid-19-related nursing home crisis and the gaps in home-care provision show the urgent need to decongregate settings for older people and for people with disabilities, through enhanced care resources in the community.
Universal healthcare requires the identification of quality-of-life measures for individuals and for society. We suggest that a wellbeing section be included in the framework to bring together the health commitments in its other sections, such as on housing, climate action, and youth, which are all linked and contribute to our wellbeing. These elements all require a response that ensures equality of access and equality of outcome.
We ask all the political parties engaged in discussions to ensure that there is no reversion to the old, unequal healthcare delivery system, not for ourselves, our parents, our healthcare colleagues or our children. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to do the right thing. We ask all those involved in forming the next government to engage with us when planning the healthcare system we deserve.
National Women’s Council of Ireland
CervicalCheck Patient Support Group
Age Action Age & Opportunity
Amach LGBT Galway
Care Alliance Ireland
Children’s Rights Alliance
Community Work Ireland
Congress - Irish Congress of Trade Unions
Disability Federation of Ireland
Immigrant Council of Ireland
Irish Association of Social Workers
Irish Heart Foundation
Irish Hospice Foundation
Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association (IMNDA)
Migrant Rights Centre Ireland
National Traveller Women’s Forum
Northside Home Care Services
Pavee Point Traveller and Roma Centre
Society of Saint Vincent de Paul (SVP)
The Alzheimer Society of Ireland
Threshold Training Network
Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI)