Investment in primary care vital to future of our health service

26 July 2022

Labour health spokesperson Duncan Smith said government must prepare for the changing population and adapt Ireland’s health service to care for people at all stages of life. With the ESRI projecting the need for an increased workforce in the health service, Deputy Smith said the recruitment crisis cannot continue.

Deputy Smith said:

“Every member of the workforce in our health service knows that there is a need to recruit more and more people to care for people. It’s obvious that we need to increase capacity in our acute hospitals, but investment in primary care will be key in easing pressures in acute hospitals.

“People were scandalised earlier this month with the announcement that public patients would be outsourced to Spain for treatment. Everyone knows we should be increasing our capacity locally in our communities. Early intervention is key to paring down our crisis waiting lists.

“We see it every day with the INMO reporting that trolley figures have returned to post-pandemic highs. Workers in our acute hospitals are tasked with the arduous challenge of providing care to those who need it most with extraordinarily limited resources. Investment is needed, but a vision for primary care will be fundamental to a best in class health service.

“The government is running out of excuses at this point. It’s clear that we need serious investment in terms of the recruitment of additional staff but also in terms of system change.

“We have had five wasted years by Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, with nothing done to tackle persistent and unrelenting issues within the service. Enormous credit is due to our health workers, our nurses, cleaners, porters and so many other key workers across the public health service and in the private sector for their selflessness and dedication throughout Covid. It’s not good enough that there is no vision for healthcare post-pandemic.”

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