herald

Sunday 19 August 2018

We can create new health service in five years, say FG

FIANNA Fail has moved to distance itself from Mary Harney's health policies as Fine Gael pledged to abolish the shambolic HSE.

In a brave election promise, Enda Kenny says that his party can create a new health system within five years.

But Fianna Fail's health spokesman Barry Andrews says that his party can make the HSE work in the term of a new government.

"The HSE is only up and running five years. We are now supposed to unravel it, fold it up and forget about it. It is going to take 10 years to see the benefits," said Mr Andrews today.

He also distanced his party from Mary Harney, who served as Health Minister under both Bertie Ahern and Brian Cowen.

"There are some parts of Mary Harney's policy I won't be pursuing," he said.

Fianna Fail will not be revealing its full health policy until later in the week but Mr Andrews hinted that Ms Harney's pet project of co-location is set to be abandoned.

His comments came after Fine Gael's Dr James Reilly promised that his party's FairCare plan would build a working health system.

"We recently witnessed 569 patients on trolleys in A&E and over 19,000 patients waiting more than three months for treatment.

"The message is simple: Micheal Martin's HSE is not working. Fine Gael's FairCare will completely reform the health system and is divided into three key phases."

The plan states that over the next three years Fine Gael would "bring down waiting lists and build a stronger primary care system".

Also, block payments to hospitals will be replaced by a system based on the numbers of patients they treat.

The "money follows the patient" system will increase productivity by between 5pc and 10pc, claims Dr Reilly.

The third aspect of the plan will bring in Universal Health Insurance which "will end the two tier system of health".

"Access to treatment will be governed by medical need, not financial worth. Once in place, everyone will have health insurance, with the state paying for children, students and those with medical/GP visit cards, and subsidising those on low income," promised Dr Reilly.

He added: "Ireland will have one strong public health system where the State guarantees the level of service and quality while competing insurance companies will become responsible for much of its administration."

kdoyle@herald.ie

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