Friday, 1 July 2022
Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) (No. 2) Bill 2022: Second Stage
I agree that a lot of people use dramatic language about the health service. We all know how difficult the work in the health service can be. Sometimes that is down to the weaknesses that exist there but it is not to take away from those who work in it. All of us and our families have received great care there but we also know about the issues with waiting lists and we know about the costs. We all welcome this Bill in the sense that it will reduce some costs but we can go further.
We also believe we can have a better health service and that is what we want. We want a first class or first world - call it what you want - healthcare service. We all agree on the idea of Sláintecare and universal healthcare and one of the few lessons I hope we retain from the pandemic is the necessity for a public health system to deliver when necessary and we have to all play our part in making that happen. We welcome the abolition of inpatient hospital charges for children and we would like to see that go further. Many have spoken earlier about the difficulty with universal GP care and none of that will exist unless we have a greater level of GPs. I would also agree with what a number of colleagues said earlier about dealing with stakeholders as we make that difficult journey. I can make an argument that we might need to plan better, work harder and negotiate better, but if there are obstacles and difficulties it would not do any harm for the Minister to appraise the rest of us of that. Sometimes it can be that if you are in the right, if you have put your arguments and if you are not being dealt with fairly then it is fair enough that we have that argument out there in the public domain and we will see where the chips fall when it can be done.
Since the Minister has been appointed and in the short period of time I have been a Deputy, I have spoken many times on the DTSS and Louth, and Dundalk in particular, was one of the first areas where an issue had blown up when my dentist informed some of his patients that he would not be able to take care of them. Like many others he spoke about the difficulties with the system so we need a real fix in that regard. I accept that some works have been done and we need to go further.
I notice that, as per normal, I have left myself with insufficient time; maybe I was a bit too dramatic. A number of us would have met Debra Ireland and those people who are suffering from epidermolysis bullosa, EB. We know that it put forward straight asks about securing flexible care packages and it is talking about a fund of €786,000. It is also talking about a nurse who would be able to work between hospitals and the community and that would cost around €75,000. Due to the mental anguish and issues that relate to the condition it is asking for a psychological service that would cost in and around €80,000. If that could be considered many people would find that really useful.
I know I am taking liberties at this stage but the Minister and I have spoken many times about Dealgan House Nursing Home and I mention the loss of 23 people there. The families are-----