Charities call for scrapping of two-tier health system

Health Reform Alliance set up to campaign for equality of access to health service

Leading charities have called for an end to the current two-tier mix of private and public health systems as part of reforms to create universal healthcare. Photograph: Thinkstock

Leading charities have called for an end to the current two-tier mix of private and public health systems as part of reforms to create universal healthcare. Photograph: Thinkstock

 

Leading charities have called for an end to the current two-tier mix of private and public health systems as part of reforms to create universal healthcare.

The appeal was made at the launch of the Health Reform Alliance, an umbrella group for seven charities. It has called on politicians to sign up to a charter of basic core principles to govern the health system.

It says the current system is “broken, unfair, unequal and uneven” and needs to be replaced by a vision of a health service based on the principal of equality. It is seeking the support of political parties for five guiding principles:

- The health and social care system treats everyone equally

- It is focused on the needs of all social groups in society

- People have an entitlement to health and social care, free at the point of access

- The different elements of the health and social care system work together and are connected

- The health and social care system is a universal, publicly funded system.

Alliance chairwoman Rachel Wright said Ireland’s health and social care system was in crisis. “Our healthcare system is unfair, unequal and inefficient. Public patients are deprived of timely access to GPs and treatment, with some waiting months for diagnosis of life-limiting or threatening illnesses.

“Many of the less-well off in our society are condemned to die sooner by a two-tier system built on a principle of inequality.”

The current members of the alliance are the Adelaide Health Foundation, Age Action, Alzheimer Society of Ireland, Asthma Society of Ireland, Irish Cancer Society, Irish Heart Foundation and the Samaritans.