Coalition timetable for new healthcare model 'unrealistic'


The Government’s timetable for implementing a new model of healthcare is “totally unrealistic”, it has been claimed.

Dr Brian Turner, a lecturer in University College Cork in health economics, told the Fianna Fáil national policy conference in Dublin at the weekend that it took the Dutch 20 years to implement their managed competition model. But the Irish Government was attempting to do it in four years.

The Coalition is committed to a single-tier health system, free GP care and shorter waiting times through a universal health insurance model by 2016. Dr Turner said he was “not convinced” that universal health insurance was necessary to achieve equal access required by the Government.

He said healthcare costs per capita in the Netherlands had increased by 46 per cent between 2005 and 2010 after a new model was introduced in 2006.

“Put simply, we can’t afford to go down that sort of track.”

Dr Turner siad that profound changes to our health system were being rushed through without proper public consultation.

Neither the private hospitals nor private health insurers are represented on the universal health insurance implementation group and what was needed was a proper national debate, he added.

Health policy analyst Dr Sara Burke told the conference that Fianna Fáil’s “biggest crime in health” was that it never tried to introduce a single-tier health system. Instead successive FF/PD governments exacerbated the two-tier system while the present Government, to its credit, was trying to introduce a single-tier arrangement.