Fine Gael €2bn Plan for Health will benefit everyone in Carlow – DEERING.

15th February, 2016

Carlow Fine Gael candidate, Pat Deering TD., says the party’s new €2 billion Plan for Health will benefit everyone in Carlow.

“This plan, which is being launched by An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny and Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar today, is built on four pillars: Healthy Ireland, Building Capacity, Universal Healthcare, and Health Service Reform.

“Fine Gael will continue rebuilding our health service here in Carlow. Our plan requires both further investment and further reform. It’s only by Keeping the Recovery Going and the economy strong that we’ll be able to generate the revenue that we need to invest in public services like health here in Carlow and ensure that patients are always the absolute priority.

“The plan allocates €2 billion extra to health over the lifetime of the next government. It sets realistic targets for incremental improvements in our public health service in Carlow and around the country, investing in new infrastructure and technology and hiring 4,400 new frontline staff, taking at least one big step every year towards Universal Healthcare, and formally setting up Hospital Trusts and Community Healthcare Trusts. In the last five years we showed that even in tough times, real progress could be made in key areas. We intend to build on that over the next five years.

Highlights include:

· Extending free GP care to all children in Carlow

· New programmes to manage common chronic diseases in the community

· A full medical card for all children in Carlow on Domiciliary Care Allowance

· A dedicated fund of €50 million a year to reduce waiting lists

· Measuring and improving patient experience times in Emergency Departments

· A tax on sugar sweetened drinks

· Further measures to reduce smoking

· Implementing Healthy Ireland initiatives to improve the nation’s health

· Investing at least a further €750 million in primary care

· A detailed five year budget for the health service will be set out in 2017

· 100 extra GP training places

· Providing faster access to mental health services in Carlow

· Continued increase in acute hospital beds

· A new programme to help more people with disabilities to work

· A new dental benefits package

· Dismantling the HSE and establishing Hospital Trusts and Community Healthcare Trusts on a statutory basis

“The Government has allocated €3 billion to the capital budget for health for the next six years allowing us to proceed with major flagship projects like the new national children’s hospital, primary care centres all over the country, an ambitious programme to replace or upgrade community nursing units to comply with HIQA standards, and much-needed investment in IT.

“Fine Gael inherited a health service in freefall – funding cuts of €2 billion, thousands of staff gone, and 1,245 hospital beds closed. Because of the economic recovery in the last two years, we have been able to start rebuilding the health service here in Carlow. We have increased the budget by €900 million in the last two years, excluding supplementaries. That is a €300 million increase this year, on top of a €600 million increase last year. We reversed the previous Government’s policy of cutting 1,245 beds by adding 300 new beds in the last 12 months.

“We have taken on more staff, including record numbers of consultants, doctors, midwives and therapists. We have taken the first steps towards Universal Healthcare by introducing free GP care for the youngest and oldest in Carlow – those who need to see their doctor the most.

“Economic recovery isn’t only about more jobs and more money in our pockets, it’s also about better public services for everyone in Carlow and we have a plan to do that in health.”