Budget 2018 falls very far short of what is needed to implement the Sláintecare health reform plan, Social Democrats co-leader Róisín Shortall TD said today.

Speaking immediately after the Budget was announced, Deputy Shortall said:

“For the first time in history, the government had in front of it a fully costed plan for health reform put forward earlier this year with agreement of all political parties. What was needed today was full government commitment to that Sláintecare blueprint.

“The health spending outlined in today’s Budget falls very far short of what is needed to cut waiting lists for all public health services and to reduce the many charges for health services which are a barrier to people accessing care when they need it, in line with the Sláintecare plan. The €120 million a year commitment for capital spending in particular is not enough to fund the building programme needed if we are to properly switch our delivery of health services to the community.

“That would require €500million worth of annual investment in building new health centres, ensuring additional hospital capacity, and implementing an e-health programme which, if properly resourced, would result in considerable long-term savings.”

Deputy Shortall, who chaired the cross-party Oireachtas Committee which agreed the Sláintcare plan, added:

“It is particularly disappointing that the Minister for Finance did not mention Sláintecare in his Budget speech. Health Minister Simon Harris should now spell out the government’s future commitment to Sláintecare, even though this will have to be over a longer time scale given the failure to fully provide for the plan in this year’s Budget.”

ENDS

10 October 2017