Seanad debates

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

2:30 pm

Photo of Maire DevineMaire Devine (Sinn Fein) | Oireachtas source

I wish to share time with Senator Ó Donnghaile. We could form a multidisciplinary team in the House. We have GPs, mental health advocates, registered nurses, addiction and disability advocates among us. I ask the Minster to please include us on the health committee.

I welcome the Minister of State. Some would commiserate with her on what is perceived as a poisoned chalice but, unfortunately, the health system has been fatal for patients I have been involved with, given the savage cuts that took place during the years of austerity. Hopefully, we will turn that around and make a great plan for the next generation and the generation after that, which will most need it.

I would like to address inequality. Inequality in health is the most shocking form of inequality. The health committee will convene and make a blueprint for the sector. I hope there will be a frank and open discussion in order that we try to come to a consensus on what is best for people and the next generations. We must realise that we will have to pay for it and it will cost more. The population is increasing and we are living longer and, therefore, our needs will increase. Health is the basis of every single facet of our lifetimes.

I will push for universal health care. We need to look into this but many countries have it as a right where health care is free at the point of delivery and is based on need alone. I work in the health service and we are hanging by a thread, which is in danger of wearing away. We are over-burdened and it is chaotic. I will, hopefully, bring forward Sinn Féin's vision from our health policy document, which has been costed and analysed. It will take an additional €3.6 billion to get where we need to have universal health care for all.

Is the Minister of State aware of the second annual report of the national health care quality reporting system, which was published recently? It was reported on in The Sunday Business Post.There are significant variations in patient survival following a heart attack or stroke across the State while the mortality rate in small hospitals is almost 17%, well above the average of 6%. This rate is across all seven hospitals in the report. Perhaps the Minister of State could comment on that.


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