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The IMO described the document as a major disappointment in respect of health which was the key priority for the citizens of Ireland during the election campaign.
“Health is not even given its own section within the agreement,” says the IMO in its statement.
“The few commitments made on health are scattered piece-meal through the document.
“Unbelievably, the critical issue of mental health is dealt with in the section that comes under the heading ‘Crime and Community Services’.
“A Vision for Change was published a decade ago, however its recommendations have been almost completely ignored by successive governments. The mental health services currently operate with fewer employees than when A Vision for Change was published.”
The union is also critical of what it describes as the “paltry sum of €15m” that is reserved to tackle waiting lists.
The IMO says this “does nothing more than prop up the two tier health system with public funding being used to purchase services in the private healthcare environment.”
“This policy failed in the past and will continue to fail as there is no plan to invest in building capacity in the public system.”
The IMO also claims that primary care gets little focus on the document.
The NAGP, meanwhile, has expressed surprise at the lack of emphasis placed by the Fianna Fail/ Fine Gael document on the ongoing healthcare crisis with only two points addressing health.
The organisation has welcomed the inclusion of an agreement that health expenditure be based on a five-year HSE service plan as a step in the right direction. However, the NAGP has cautioned that the 10-year plan, with consensus from all stakeholders, it has been calling for is required.
Dr Emmet Kerin, Limerick GP and NAGP President, said, “We are surprised that so little emphasis has been placed by Fine Gael and Fianna Fail on the healthcare crisis. It is positive that the NAGP’s call for long-term planning has been heard but it is imperative that health care in this country is separated from the political cycle. Therefore, we are reiterating our call for a ‘Tallaght Strategy’ for health with a 10-year consensus from all stakeholders”.
“In the last two weeks, we hosted three public meetings on our proposal to base health reform on a 10-year plan with a panel of expert speakers at each meeting. The speakers agreed unanimously that a properly resourced GP-led primary care system is crucial to addressing the issues in the healthcare system”.
Dr Kerin concluded, “The focus needs to be on better patient care and service delivery. Such a negotiated consensus by all the parties for a 10-year plan would take politics out of health and finally put the patient first”.
The NAGP is calling for €500 million per year to be ring-fenced for primary care for five years.