Slaintecare’s new group likely to face the same problems

03 October 2021
  • Slaintecare advisory group envisioned to oversee all policy – not just regionalisation

Labour health spokesperson Duncan Smith said the setting up of a separate group to advise on the regionalisation aspect of Slaintecare is not in the spirit of achieving the aims of the full system reform proposed by Slaintecare. Reiterating his calls to Minister Donnelly to give an honest assessment of the future of Slaintecare to the Oireachtas, Deputy Smith said consideration should be given to extending the Advisory Group’s term.

Deputy Smith said:

“Slaintecare was supposed to be a once in a generation opportunity to end the two-tier health system in Ireland and the Advisory Council was supposed to oversee every element of the plan to ensure consistency. It’s worrying to see that a new group will be set up to just deal with regionalisation – this flies in the face of the original aims of the Slaintecare Advisory Group. Rather than instructing new people, the most common sense thing to do would be to extend the lifetime of the Advisory Group and ensure they have the political support required for change.

“This fiasco is causing further confusion about the future of healthcare in Ireland which is unfair on the public but also on the frontline workers in our system. There’s failed to be a consistent line from the Minister on what’s actually going on with Slaintecare, and I am reiterating my calls for him to show political leadership and give an honest assessment of what’s going on and where we can go from here.

“Senior people with a track record of delivering system change have resigned because they felt the wheels were coming off the programme. We still need to understand the specific issues that led to these resignations. It’s absolutely clear that there is a communication breakdown between the Minister and the group. How can we be sure that the same roadblocks in the Advisory Council’s way will not be in the way of this new group?

“At this point, I would welcome the Taoiseach’s intervention. Change of the scale proposed by Slaintecare demands the full attention and commitment of government. The public needs to understand what is going on and where we can go from here. Who is now in charge of delivering the full Slaintecare programme as promised? Slaintecare had been lauded by experts as the strategy that we need as a nation, now it looks like we’re getting a watered-down version. We need this government to have a vision and ambition for change.”

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