A health service delivering for all
Increasing access to safe, timely care, as close to patients’ homes as possible.
Fine Gael is committed to implementing a programme of reform by delivering more healthcare staff, empowering local management, investing in technology and ensuring more care in the community.
We increased the health budget in 2015 and 2016, and are committed to continuing this progress to ensure sustained annual increases in funding.
We want to deliver the following:
- An increase in the number of nurses, doctors and consultants working in our health service.
- Strengthening the level of home and community based services, Fine Gael will support older people to live with dignity and independently in their homes and communities.
- Significant investment in primary and community care to provide 80 additional primary care centres, expanded out-of-hours services and increased access to diagnostic services.
- A reduction in the percentage of patients waiting longer than six hours in emergency departments from 32% currently to less than 7% by 2021, and reduce average Patient Experience Times for patients attending emergency departments and average waiting times for appointments, procedures and diagnostic tests across the health service.
- We are also committed to spending at least €6.75 billion more on public services by 2021 compared to 2016.
Here are some of the key achievements of the health sector in Ireland:
- The first two phases of universal GP care were introduced. Approximately 800,000 children under 6 and all older people over 70 years are now automatically covered for GP care without fees, and without the need for a means-test.
- An Bord Pleanála has recently granted planning permission for a new national children’s hospital at the St James’s Hospital campus in Dublin.
- Budget 2017 will deliver the highest health budget ever at €14.6 billion, demonstrating the Government’s commitment to investing the gains from a recovering economy in a better health service. Within these increased resources we can plan for the challenge of increased demand from a growing and ageing population, and begin some significant new developments which will over time deliver real improvements for patients on waiting lists, children with disabilities and older people.
- All children who qualify for the Domiciliary Care Allowance will be provided with a medical card which will alleviate some of the pressures facing these families. An initial allocation of €5 million has also been provided will kick-start the establishment of a “Healthy Ireland Fund” to support the implementation of Healthy Ireland programmes and projects in a variety of settings, including education, local authorities, workplaces and communities. €20 million has also been allocated to the National Treatment Purchase Fund to tackle waiting lists.
Supporting people with Disabilities
Fine Gael is committed to delivering improved services and increased supports for people with disabilities, by removing barriers which impact on access to vital services, education, work or healthcare.
- We will ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
- The introduction of personalised budgets will provide more control in accessing services, giving them greater independence and choice
- We will ensuring a single application process for services or entitlements across all government agencies
- As we implement the Comprehensive Employment Strategy for People with Disabilities, addressing concerns around the loss of secondary benefits, ensuring work always pays
- We support increases in the Disability Benefit and Allowance, Carer’s Benefit and Allowance, and Blind Person’s Pension
Minding your Mental Health
Fine Gael has appointed a Minister with specific responsibility for Mental Health in Helen McEntee. We are committed to delivering the following:
- Greater access to comprehensive and appropriate mental health care, as well as promoting awareness stemming the associated stigma.
Increased funding to mental health on an annual basis.
- Meeting the recommendations of A Vision for Change, particularly by providing more services at primary care centres and a more co-ordinated approach in delivering services.
- Extending counselling services in primary care to people on low income.
- Improving the uniformity, effectiveness and timeliness of support services to families.
- Supporting community, voluntary and advocacy groups in delivering vital services to individuals, their families and carers.
- Continue implementation of ‘Connecting for Life’, a national strategy to protect and save lives by strengthening connections within communities and preventing isolation.