Sinn Fein announces healthcare plan
Published 14/02/2011 | 16:44
Sinn Fein claims it could offer free healthcare for everybody through an overhaul of the tax regime.
Launching its health proposals, the party vowed to scrap prescription charges for medical card holders and reverse the downgrading of local hospitals.
Caoimhghin O Caolain, Sinn Fein health spokesman, said in government they would raise money for the service through a new health funding commission.
Savings would be made by capping Health Service Executive (HSE) pay at €100,000 and medics' salaries at €150,000, while using cheaper generic drugs rather than big brand names, under their plan.
"The healthcare system needs root and branch reform," said Mr O Caolain.
"We need a system where access to care at all levels is equitable and based on medical need alone.
"The two-tier system is inherently inequitable and inefficient and it has to go."
Mr O Caolain said his party in power would make the Health Minister directly responsible for the health service rather than HSE chiefs and would enshrine the right to healthcare in the Constitution.
Sinn Fein are also proposing a Health Ombudsman's office be set up.
"The State subsidising of the private for-profit healthcare sector must be ended and all public money allocated for healthcare must be spent in the public system to deliver care on the basis of need alone," added Mr O Caolain.