Irish News

Thursday 31 July 2014

Health reform biggest in State's history

Taoiseach says that the reform of the health service is “once in a generation opportunity”

Fionnan Sheahan and Eilish O'Regan

Published 02/04/2014|11:59

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Taoiseach Enda kenny
Taoiseach Enda kenny

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny says the reform of the health service is a "once in a generation opportunity" to build a health system that is fit for purpose.

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Mr Kenny was speaking at the publication of the Government's plan for the rollout of Universal Health Insurance, which provide health insurance for everyone and end the two-tier system.

Health Minister Dr James Reilly says the changeover to UHI is a great opportunity.

"I know it sound like hype but I think it is the biggest reform in the history of the State," he said.

Dr Reilly said the system had to change.

"The status quo is to sustainable," he said.

Dr Reilly said the dramatic increase in spending from 1997 to 2007 did not sort out the problems in the health service.

"If money were the problem, we would have solved it a lot time ago," he said.

Mr Kenny said UHI was part of the Government's mandate for change.

"Three years ago the Irish people voted for Change. Change in the way we run our economy. Change akin the way we manage our finances. Change in our health system.

"The publication today of a White Paper on UHI sends a very clear message: We intend to deliver on that promise of change.

"The Minister for Health’s reform plan represents a once in a generation opportunity to help build a health system which is fit for purpose in a modern republic. A health system which truly places the patient at the heart of all that it does," he said.

Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore said the Labour Party was the first political party in Ireland to propose universal health insurance back in 2001.

"My party believes that a person’s access to medical care should be determined by their medical needs, not the money in their pocket.  Put simply, universal health insurance is about providing equal access for all of our people to quality healthcare services, and providing the right incentives for them to get treated as early, and as efficiently as possible.

"The unfair two-tier system that has determined the course – and many of the problems – of our health service over many decades, is not working," he said.

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