Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Kelleher's criticism of health service only reminds us of FF’s tragic health legacy

FF ran away from problems in health for 14 years while the system imploded

Fine Gael TD for Meath East, Regina Doherty, has criticised Fianna Fáil Health Spokesperson, Billy Kelleher, after he launched an attack on the Government for not implementing changes to the health service quick enough.

“Billy Kelleher’s criticism of the health service is like someone starting a fire and then criticising you for not putting it out quickly enough. This mirrors Fianna Fáil’s approach to the economy.

“Deputy Kelleher attests that, ‘Fianna Fáil is committed to bringing forward radical proposals on creating a fairer health system.’ However, they had their chance to provide a decent health service and they blew it – spectacularly. During 14 years of Fianna Fail Government our health system deteriorated inexorably, despite the Government throwing money at it.

“I was staggered to hear Deputy Kelleher’s attempts to blame the Government for the fact that thousands of people being forced to give up their health insurance cover. These people have been severely stung by Fianna Fáil’s economic policies and can now no longer afford insurance cover. It is cynical and unwise of Deputy Kelleher to use these people’s depleted economic circumstances to score political points.

“Instead of running away from the problem, Fine Gael in Government is delivering health reforms and improvements unheard of under the previous government, despite having to operate under the economic constraints left behind by Fianna Fáil.

The number of patients waiting on trolleys was 24% lower in 2012 compared to 2011. So far this year, the number of patients waiting on trolleys has been reduced by a further 10%
1,759 children were waiting over 20 weeks for inpatient or day case surgery at the end of 2011. Within a year, this waiting list was reduced to 89 children.
3,706 adults were waiting more than 9 months for inpatient and day case surgery at the end of 2011. Within a year, this waiting list was reduced to 86 adults.
The number of cancelled operations has halved and is now at its lowest level since 2006
The Children's Hospital location has been selected
The Hospital Groups system, which will enable hospital users around the country to access better and more efficient services, has been created.

“Health reform documents on Money Follows the Patient and Path to Universal Healthcare have been published and the key building blocks are now in place to provide Ireland with a fair, modern health service.”

“Deputy Kelleher’s effort to score political points only serves to remind us of the tragedy of Fianna Fáil’s treatment of our health service. As Minister for Health, Micheal Martin’s stock in trade when facing problems was to commission but not implement endless expensive reports – over 110 in total. He hid behind these reports while our health system buckled and Irish patients suffered unnecessarily. He also created the HSE which was cynically used by the Government to divert blame away from its doorstep.

“Having passed the buck for years, Fianna Fáil then washed their hands entirely of the health system by handing the health portfolio over to Mary Harney. When the government was criticised for the state of our health system, Fianna Fáil levelled the blame at the PDs.”

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