Louth Sinn Féin TD Gerry Adams says Government's Inpatient Action Plan will fail patients
Louth TD Gerry Adams has criticised the Government's 'Action Plan for Inpatient Treatment', saying that the plan is unambitious and will divert State funds to the private health care sector.
The action plan, which was published on Thursday, aims to reduce the number of patients waiting for hospital operations or procedures.
Under the Action Plan 2018, the Department of Health says that the number of patients waiting longer than 9 months will fall by 10,000.
Along with this, the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) commits to offer treatment to all patients waiting more than 9 months for treatment in a number of high volume specialities - including cataract, hip and knee replacement, tonsils and scopes
Also under the action plan, the Department says, the overall number of patients waiting for hospital operations and procedures will fall to under 70,000 by year end.
Criticising the plan, Deputy Adams said, "In Louth there are currently 1391 patients awaiting inpatient procedures. There are 602 people awaiting day procedures in the Louth County Hospital, Dundalk and 789 on the waiting list for Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda.
"Across the State there are almost 80,000 patients on the waiting list for day procedures."
Deputy Adams said he believes that, rather than focusing on the recruitment of additional staff to the HSE, the Government's plan "seeks to syphon taxpayer’s money to private healthcare organisations for carrying out routine and simple procedures which should be carried out in public hospitals."
He continued: "Of course this cannot be done due to the government’s failure to invest in recruiting and retaining medical professionals.
"This €55 million will be spent essentially on providing routine treatment and surgeries in private hospitals. This in no way represents value for money for the taxpayer and will just be a case of public money lining the pockets of private interests.
"In addition the Minister for Health has stated himself that this plan seeks only to reduce the waiting list by 10,000 people.
"Is the Minister content for 70,000 people to languish on waiting lists for months and months for procedures which are relatively simple but would make a major difference to their lives?
"The solution to this problem is simple - the Minister must invest properly in the recruitment of HSE staff to enable these procedures to be carried out in a timely manner by the HSE."
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