Lessons for Sláintecare in NHS

 

Sir, – Tomorrow (July 5th) is the 70th anniversary of the launch of the NHS in the UK. In early July 1948, every house in England and Wales received an extraordinarily progressive letter explaining the new system and how it would work. It stated: “It will provide you with all medical, dental, and nursing care. Everyone – rich or poor, man, women, or child – can use it or any part of it. There are no charges, except for a few special items. There are no insurance qualifications. But it is not a ‘charity’. You are all paying for it, mainly as taxpayers and it will relieve your money worries in time of illness.”

Since then this service has survived enormous upheavals. Despite facing significant cuts and successive Conservative governments, it has endured and is still viewed as a source of national pride.

So why, in spite of the 70-year success of our nearest neighbour, is our Government still divided on its response to the Sláintecare plan?

Undoubtedly the cross-party Sláintecare plan is ambitious, but its ambition is simply to achieve the same sort of universal healthcare system that the UK, and most of our European neighbours, have benefitted from for decades.

It’s time for the Government to step up and show some of the vision and political courage Aneurin Bevan displayed in 1948. – Yours, etc,

RÓISÍN SHORTALL TD,

Co-leader of

the Social Democrats,

Dáil Éireann,

Dublin 2.