Time for Minister to give an honest update on Sláintecare

01 October 2021

In light of the number of high profile resignations from the Slaintecare programme, Labour health spokesperson Duncan Smith said Minister Donnelly must come before the Oireachtas to give an honest assessment of the future of Slaintecare. Deputy Smith said there are serious questions of commitment and judgement of this Government when it comes to ending a two tier health system.

Deputy Smith said:

“The resignation of Prof Anthony O’Connor from the Slaintecare implementation group is more cause for concern for the future of the programme. His resignation letter points to a programme for change that has well fallen off the track, stating that the current iteration of Sláintecare will bear no resemblance to the original system envisaged by the all-party group on the future of healthcare.

“Slaintecare was supposed to be a once in a generation opportunity to end the two-tier health system in Ireland. It now seems that government are not fully committed to levelling the playing field for healthcare in this country. At this point, Minister Donnelly needs to show leadership on Slaintecare and give an honest assessment of its future.

“There’s a huge disparity between what the Minister has said to date and what’s actually going on. At the midyear review of progress made, the Minister indicated that everything was fine and on track. This is clearly not the case, and it appears that there’s been a total breakdown in communication between the Minister and the people tasked with delivering the programme.

“Actions speak louder than words, and the Minister’s lack of ambition or interest in engaging fairly with the Advisory Council following the resignations rings clear. Slaintecare has been lauded by experts as the strategy that we need as a nation, yet it never received support by this government. The Minister must present himself to either the Dáil or the health committee to give an honest assessment of where we’re at, and where we go from here.”

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