‘Future of Healthcare’ report
Sir, – As a full-time GP I welcome the Oireachtas report on the Future of Healthcare, which outlines a 10-year plan to fix our two-tier, fragmented health system (“Free GP care for all proposed in ¤5.8 billion healthcare plan”, May 30th).
It’s not perfect but we should all support the principles of political consensus, equal access to GP and hospital services, rapid diagnostics, integrated care, transformation funding and accountability. Healthcare reform has been plagued in Ireland by vested interests, local politics and the triumph of organisations over national need. This must stop.
The report, if implemented, can be a seminal event in Irish healthcare.
In 2017 there is no Plan B. Our population is ageing. Our GP graduates are emigrating. Our hospital-centric model is broken. We have 560,000 patients on waiting lists to see a specialist, with 80,000 waiting more than one year; and 500 people a day waiting on trolleys; with obscene delays for GP access to scans, X-rays, physiotherapy, and counselling.
Recently I received a reply from a regional urology service saying my public patient would receive an “urgent appointment” to see the specialist in 48 months. It is unjust that those who pay are seen immediately.
We need a decisive, funded, resourced and cultural change to primary care with local clinical leadership. We must prevent, anticipate and treat chronic disease earlier and better. Patients must come first. Access must be equal. Resources must be real.
An enhanced general practice can transform and integrate care, especially by streaming patients to the right service at the right time.
We must stop simply talking about a “just society”. Our patients and country deserve a new direction, towards real justice in healthcare. This report is a first step. – Yours, etc,
Dr RONAN FAWSITT,
Sir, – While the name “Sláintecare” may be the best that the Future of Healthcare committee could come up with, in deference to our dear departing leader, could we not call it “Endacare”, which might have a slightly more honest ring to it? – Yours, etc,
Dr STEPHEN MURPHY,