New integrated waiting list system key to overcoming NTPF waiting list cover-up – Louise O’Reilly TD

Against a backdrop of evidence that shows there are thousands of patients waiting for operations and procedures that are not included in the waiting list figures., Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Louise O’Reilly TD has called, once again, for a new single, integrated hospital waiting list management system to be introduced.

Louise O’Reilly TD

Deputy O’Reilly said: “Sinn Féin has proposed a new single, integrated hospital waiting list management system where people can move from one hospital to another to reduce waiting times. We have called this system Comhliosta. Indeed, we presented our proposal to the Minister but he refused to meet with us to discuss this.

“Under the current system waiting lists vary drastically across our hospitals. Patients do not know where they stand on the list or how long they will be waiting. People waiting for similar procedures can wait different lengths of time depending on which hospital they have been referred to. And now, we find out, there are further waiting lists hidden within the health service- masked from official public figures and skewing the realities of our waiting list crisis.

“We want to do away with that. We would introduce a new IT system based on the one in use in the Portuguese NHS which would generate new maximum waiting times by transferring those on the list from hospitals that are struggling to meet demand to those that are in a better position to perform the procedure more timely.

“When I have pressed the Minister or the HSE on the need for a new, single, integrated hospital waiting list management system, I have been met with refrains that it is one option presented as part of a digital package solution. But we are no clearer on the Minister’s intention to bring this forward. Indeed, the HSE argue, according to documents, that €1million is sufficient to advance this.

“It would seem that the Minister would be better off investing public funds in this type of new system, and the digital solutions required to modernise our health service, than relying on the NTPF, which has demonstrated its inability to be transparent in its management of public waiting lists. Indeed, investment in developing capacity in the public health system would be more beneficial in the long term.”

Sinn Féin embark upon nationwide outreach on a National Health Service for Ireland – Louise O’Reilly TD

Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Louise O’Reilly TD will begin a process of outreach and stakeholder engagement on a National Health Service for Ireland in Ballinasloe and Mullingar on Monday 30th January.

The campaign, designed to consult and engage with health workers, unions and members of the public on a new vision for the Irish health service, will propose a radical shift in thinking on the need for an Irish National Health Service.

Deputy O’Reilly said: “People have looked enviously to the National Health Service in Britain, but at the same time, are afraid of it. They are scaremongered into believing that an NHS for Ireland is unattainable; that it is too costly. This scaremongering is allied to efforts to push citizens into the private health market.

“For the first 40 years of its operation, the NHS was the lowest cost, most efficient and fairest system. The NHS guaranteed health care to all citizens without fear of catastrophic health care costs or being denied care.

“Unfortunately, that system was incrementally dismantled. The Tory Government, following a decade of incremental changes to the NHS, have moved to push the NHS to privatisation. But we in Sinn Féin are not afraid to replicate its best bits at its inception; its core principles; its vision; in the realisation of our own project.

“Sinn Féin is committed to the establishment of an Irish National Health Service, free at the point of delivery and where patients are treated on the basis of medical need and nothing else.

“There are very clear opportunities within a united Ireland to reconfigure how we deliver health services across Ireland.  We strongly believe that it is necessary to legislate to place a duty on the Minister to provide services throughout Ireland. That is the only way to overcome the fragmentation, imbalance and inequity in resources.

“The engagement we are embarking upon is part of a process to highlight to people the system that they should be demanding of their elected representatives, that puts their health firmly at the centre of health deliberations, irrespective of income. In 2015, we published, Better4Health, a concise health policy document on a 5 year plan for health and we are drawing on this in our engagements.

“I will be starting this engagement in Ballinasloe and Mullingar on Monday 30th and this will be ongoing in the Midlands North West for February, before going to other areas.”