Sunday 11 December 2016

Maeve Sheehan: Politicians all dried up on big ideas to fix broken health service

Parties produce variations on 'throw money at it and hope'

Published 03/01/2016 | 02:30

DIFFICULT TASK: Dr James Reilly, right, was castigated for his performance as Health
Minister, but his successor, Leo Varadkar, has not performed any better in the role. Photo: Gerry Mooney
DIFFICULT TASK: Dr James Reilly, right, was castigated for his performance as Health Minister, but his successor, Leo Varadkar, has not performed any better in the role. Photo: Gerry Mooney
PROBLEMS: A&E waiting times remain long

Enda Kenny came to power with a "revolutionary" plan for changing the health service. Fine Gael's "big idea" was for universal health insurance, free GP care for all, slashing hospital waiting lists and abolishing the Health Service Executive and setting up hospital trusts.

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Six years on, almost five years as Taoiseach under his belt, the remnants of Kenny's big idea are swinging in the wind. Universal health insurance (UHI) has effectively been abandoned as way too costly and managers are still struggling to contain the numbers of patients on trolleys.

The man he appointed to implement this grand plan, Dr James Reilly, was ignominiously moved from Health to the Department of Children.

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