Fine Gael backtracking on Sláintecare and free GP care

23 July 2018

Labour Health spokesperson, Alan Kelly TD has said the revelations today about discussions at last week’s Cabinet Meeting show that the Fine Gael government is backtracking on commitments in the Sláintecare report, and appear to have no plans to rollout any further free GP care this year.

Kelly called for the publication of Harris’s three year implementation strategy provided to the Cabinet.

Deputy Kelly said:

“Minister Harris should publish the implementation plan and proposals he brought to Cabinet last week on the recommendations in the Sláintecare report. If there are 104 actions to be taken over three years, we should see what the proposed implementation strategy is.

“The reports today would indicate that Fine Gael is quickly backing away from the core proposals of the plan to introduce a single tier health system in Ireland and a shift towards investment in primary care services.

“Moving towards a phased rollout of free GP on the basis of income will be time consuming, and mean the introduction of costly means testing ensuring that the benefits of the proposals will be lost in bureaucracy. Previous budgets made commitments to free GP for children up to the age of 12. We haven’t seen any progress on that after three years. If they are ruling out any further expansion in this year’s budget then Sláintecare will be delayed again.

“What’s becoming clear is that the Government is only interested in tokenistic gestures on Sláintecare, with no commitment to additional resources. Fine Gael are backing away from multiple commitments in the Sláintecare report, including the separation of private and public patients, and the need for a national health fund. If this is their intent, then the plan is slowly being undermined, rather than embraced.”

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