Building a National Health Service

February 17, 2016

As we head into the last week of the election campaign, it’s no surprise that the health service is the biggest issue on people’s minds.

There is an ongoing crisis in A&E. The long waiting lists are long hospital care. And community services are sorely lacking.

It’s been difficult to watch the last five years in health go largely wasted. The Government has left office having abandoned its Universal Health Insurance plan and without replacing it with any other.

Once again our health service is in flux, leaderless, and bereft of any long-term plan.

Ireland has developed a very hospital-focused health system rather than a community care focus which is now the norm in higher performing countries.

To fix this, the Social Democrats have a long-term plan for our health service – to build an Irish NHS.

We are launching this Policy today, you can download it here –

This will gradually phase out the current two tier health service and ensure that everyone has access to a quality health care they can depend on.  

Real transformational change doesn’t happen overnight, so we propose a 3 phase plan over 3 years:

  • Phase 1: Re-orientate the health service by switching activity and care away from acute hospitals and into the community
  • Phase 2: Provide universal access to primary and community healthcare services
  • Phase 3:  End the current two-tier hospital service by raising the standard of our public  hospital service in terms of access and quality

Despite what seems to be insurmountable problems within the health service there is hope.

We have incredibly talented front-line healthcare staff, we have a health budget in line with other developed countries with great health systems, and wide-spread public support for major reform.

We are committed to a long-term vision for our health service.