Dublin South West TD, Seán Crowe, has described the Health Minister’s proposed eight-point-plan for structural reform of the health services as “a smokescreen”.

The Sinn Féin TD said Minister Harris’ plan reinforced Fine Gael’s ideology of private privilege over public investment in the health services.

Deputy Seán Crowe said:

“The continued crisis in our health system requires radical reform and investment not more Government spin. Citizens need real solutions, not more tinkering around the edges.

“What the Minister is proposing in his 8 point plan is little more than a smokescreen for the continued privatisation agenda that awards privilege over need.

“The key issue ignored in his plan is capacity. Our hospitals and services are all but crumbling due to lack of capacity, lack of staff, and a lack of investment.

“Increasingly many families and individuals who have no private healthcare and are waiting years on lists are being forced to try and raise extraordinary amounts to get life changing procedures that should be available in our public health service.

“Families, friends and loved ones of people who desperately need surgery, scans, tests or even a consultation are being forced and should not have to resort to private fundraising or the ‘charity of strangers’ to get health care, but increasingly this happening.

“This government are increasingly heading towards the American private model rather than the more enlightened European norm when it comes to health.

“Minister Harris might talk tough but he is clearly not up to the task and lacks the vision to fix our broken health services.

“Sinn Féin wants to end the chaos in our hospitals. We want to end the scandal of children waiting years on vital operations. We want to end the chaos in our A&E wards and we have shown how we would do this in our ‘Better4Health’ document.

“The solutions to the health crisis are available but it means taking a different direction.   It will inevitably mean a major investment over the coming years and an end to the subsidisation of the private sector.

“We need to prioritise this because we cannot stand over a system that fails cancer patients, that doesn’t deliver for women and children, that leaves our sick and elderly on hospital trolleys and over 600,000 patients languishing on waiting lists, many of them in chronic pain.”