SINN Féin Senator Paul Gavan has linked the failure of the Government to implement Sláintecare to ongoing crises in the health service across Limerick. Sláintecare is the ten-year programme to transform Ireland’s health and social care services. Government has described it as the roadmap for building a world-class health and social care service for the Irish people.
Last week two key members of the Sláintecare management team, Professor Tom Keane and Laura Magahy resigned, with Professor Keane declaring “Sadly, I have come to conclude that the requirements for implementing this unprecedented programme for change are seriously lacking.”
Speaking in the wake of those resignations Senator Gavan said “We were told that the development of six new regional health areas in line with the Sláintecare plan would deliver “truly transformative change for the Mid-West”. Colette Cowan, CEO of University Hospital Limerick, also declared that it was ‘a great opportunity to improve the patient experience in acute hospitals.’ Unfortunately there has been no progress in actually implementing the plan and now two of the most important people charged with managing this crucial project have walked off the pitch.”
Senator Gavan continued “So instead of transformational change, we have ever worsening crises in trolley numbers, and patient waiting lists. A key component of Slaintecare was supposed to be a major increase in primary care centre resources to take the strain away from our hospitals. There was also supposed to be targeted initiatives to reduce patient waiting lists.”
Senator Gavan has laid the blame for lack of progress firmly with the government rather than local hospital management. “What is lacking is the political will to roll out major healthcare reforms. Sláintecare is supposed to deliver a single tier system of Healthcare for all, but both Fianna Fail and Fine Gael are wedded to the two-tier system of care where access to service depends not on need but rather the size of your bank balance.They have spent the past five years paying lip service to Sláintecare whilst refusing to allocate the necessary funding and structural changes required to make it happen.”
Senator Gavan concluded “ As we head towards another winter of record numbers on trolleys, and ever spiralling waiting lists in Limerick where is the political leadership needed to tackle these issues? The resignations from the Slaintecare management team tells us that it is nowhere to be found within this government.”