Full implementation of the Sláintecare policy is essential for the effective reform of our health and social care services, Social Democrats co-leader, Róisín Shortall, told the SIPTU Health Division Biennial Delegate Conference in Waterford on Wednesday, 26th October.
Shortall said: “Sláintecare is a 10-year roadmap for reform of our health and social care services, to get us from the current two-tier unfair and unequal and in many ways dysfunctional, health service to a universal single-tier health and social care service where people can access timely care on the basis of health need and not on their ability to pay.
“The Sláintecare report was published in May 2017 so we’re now coming to the end of year five, and the question is ‘What have we got to show for it?’ The first two years consisted of lip-service from the Fine Gael government where the Minister for Health talked the talk but didn’t actually walk the walk. The term Sláintecare became a convenient brand for him to wrap himself in.
“It seemed that most senior government politicians assumed that Sláintecare would go the way of those other health reports and be forgotten. However, when it came to the general election in early 2020, Sláintecare was adopted as official policy by all parties. No one had a Plan B.”
She added: “Like many things in life, the causes of the dysfunction and inequality of our health service are down to political choices, bad choices, which favour vested interest over the public interest.”
SIPTU Health Division Organiser, Kevin Figgis, said “Change is an integral part of working within the health service. Our members have demonstrated their ability to work in a changing environment over many, many years. They will not be found wanting when it comes to engaging with the implementation of Sláintecare.”
He added: “However, as we begin to grapple with what this entails, we will be doing so from the principled position that we will not be engaging with any programme that could be seen as eroding the hard-won terms and conditions that our members have fought for. SIPTU will not be engaging with any reform agenda that includes the outsourcing of our members’ roles to third parties.”
Róisín Shortall addressed the SIPTU Health Division Biennial Delegate Conference in the Tower Hotel, The Mall, Waterford City as a guest speaker on October 26th.