Budget headline figures will do little to bring about the major reform needed in the healthcare system.
This year’s budget offers no stability or peace of mind to those who remain let down by under investment in the health service.
The health budget for this year is reliant upon a recent upsurge in corporation tax receipts. This is not the way to properly fund and invest in a public healthcare system. Many of the problems which impact people such as bed closures, huge waiting lists and the funding of life-saving medicines require long term solutions.
Relying on a volatile and unpredictable income stream means that those people worst affected by underinvestment in the health service will not see any improvement. For people waiting on vital treatments, a health budget based on an unexpected rise in corporation tax is utterly meaningless. To be blunt, the €1 billion found by the Government does nothing for the future of healthcare in Ireland.
I am also very concerned at the lack of detailed costings within the headline health spend. Most people are well aware of the problems in the health service but they will find precious little detail within the budget as to how these will be addressed with investment. It seems that a large headline figure has been used to lull people into a false sense of security that adequate money is being invested into the service.
Sinn Féin takes an entirely different approach. The continuous engagement we have with frontline healthcare professionals tells us exactly where the funding needs to be targeted. We would invest money over a period of years and visible results will be seen. Fully staffed hospital beds will reopen. Waiting lists will be reformed and will be reduced. We are not interested in short term balancing of the books so that the health service can stay intact for the next election. We want a health service we can all take pride in.