Saturday 22 October 2016

Lucinda Creighton: Citizens' health too important to be kicked around like election football

John Brennan

Published 18/02/2016 | 13:44

Lucinda Creighton
Lucinda Creighton

Lucinda Creighton has called for an end to the health service being used as an "election football".

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The Renua Ireland leader launched the party's plans on health outside Leinster house today flanked by several of the 26 Renua candidates running in the general election.

"The health of our citizens is far too important to be kicked around as an election football with one side auctioning more system changes than the other.

"You'll have all the other party's promising a billion here and a billion there, the reality is that we are one of the highest spending health services in the world, what we need is efficiency," she explained.

The party leader suggested establishing a forum early in the next governments life to tackle the issues decisively and develop a 24 year forecast for healthcare requirements and develop five and ten year plans for healthcare management.

"The first thing we are proposing is to set up a national forum within the first 100 days of government which will publish its first report within six months and that will involve all political parties, healthcare workers, patient advocates, the HSE, all the agencies involved, the department of health and it will design a new vision for the health service," she said

 Ms Creighton called for a new type of politics and an end to the "old Punch and Judy politics... Of new Big Bang visions that just fail."

 She was measured in her criticism of Leo Varadkar's performance as Minister for health.

"I think there has been no change, I think coming in as Minister for Health towards the end of the lifetime of the government is a challenge, I accept that Leo Varadkar has faced an enormous challenge after three and a half years of inaction by his predecessor.

That still is not an excuse, this government is collectively responsible - it has failed abysmally, it has put huge pressure on GP services, that's why you have GP's running in rural constituencies about the country," she added.

 She called for a fresh outlook and an end to tit for tat squabbling over the health service.

"It's not working and they need to acknowledge that it is not working be honest about it... I was sad to hear attacks on the record of Micheal Martin, I mean that is going back to 2004 - it's irrelevant - we need to look forward," she said.

 Ms Creighton also dismissed comparisons being drawn to Renua policy similarities with the Social Democrats.

 "I haven't seen what the Social Democrats are proposing. We launched this as part of our manifesto in the first week of January, look, I welcome any political parties that come around to our way of thinking," she added.

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