Sinn Féin’s €1.1 billion alternative Budget will bring change says Deputy Martin Browne TD

Sinn Féin has launched an alternative budget for health 2023 in the amount of 1.1 billion euros “Funding Fairer Healthcare”.

It describes how the healthcare system can be transformed through fair funding and investment to ensure people across Ireland have access to quality and timely care.

The proposals include a significant expansion of places in healthcare by 1,500 places for an average increase of 24% across all courses, as well as additional investments in further education in the fields of medicine, nursing and psychology.

The far-reaching package of measures includes 150 million euros to reduce healthcare costs, including 40 million euros to expand the income thresholds for general practitioner business cards for 300,000 people; 391 million euros for the expansion of hospital capacities to overcome waiting times; EUR 154 million for investments in primary care and outpatient care, of which EUR 30 million for the expansion of staff in GP practices; €82 million for psychiatric services; €153 million for Disability Services; and €98.8 million for improvement strategies for cancer treatment, cardiovascular health and women’s health care, among others.

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Tipperarys Sinn Fein TD, Martin Browne

Sinn Féin TD for Tipperary, Martin Browne, said the package would transform access to health care in Tipperary:

“Hospital waiting lists and emergency room wait times are spiraling out of control, GPs are becoming harder to reach and health inequalities continue to widen as the cost of living crisis affects workers and families. The people here in Tipperary see this pressure every day and know the system urgently needs to change.

“Sinn Féin proposes €1.1 billion in new actions for health in 2023, composed of €657.7 million in ongoing spending actions and an additional €461.6 million in capital or one-off expenditures.

“Sinn Féin would lower the drug payment scheme threshold by 10% to €70 per month, eliminate prescription fees for health card holders, eliminate inpatient hospital fees over two years, and lower and limit parking fees, particularly for frequent participants.

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“Our proposals represent a significant commitment to revamping the approach to health workforce planning, as the hands-on approach taken by the governing parties has so far failed to train, recruit and retain sufficient health workers.

“We propose to open 500 additional inpatient acute care beds, 40 inpatient specialized rehabilitation beds, 37 additional intensive care beds in 2023 and 250 community beds and 40 inpatient mental health places by the end of 2023.

“We would provide additional capital to expand operating room capacity and public diagnostic capacity, which equates to a 10% increase in operating room capacity and 150,000 diagnostic scans.

“Sinn Féin would also prioritize new agreements with GPs and hospital doctors to resolve contractual disputes, expand support staff agreements, remove private healthcare from public hospitals and expand free care from GPs.

“We would double the GP staff grant over 3 years to increase capacity around medical staff and expand GP training positions by 20%. We would also expand GP Visit Card eligibility to 300,000 individuals and families.

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“We would invest €153 million to implement the Disability Capacity Review and fund targeted recruitment and retention efforts for Children’s Disability Network teams.

“Our proposals also include an investment of 81 million euros in psychiatric services; €99 million for targeted improvement strategies in the areas of cancer, cardiovascular health and women’s health care.

“Sinn Féin’s healthcare priority is the provision of a universal Irish national healthcare service, ending the two-tier healthcare system and removing cost barriers to healthcare.

“This proposed budget would ignite a 10-year strategy to transform healthcare and provide timely health and social care based on need rather than ability to pay.

“This package would truly transform the lives of people across Tipperary by transforming our currently non-functioning healthcare system. It’s time for a change. Sinn Féin in government would transform access to healthcare for the people of Tipperary.”

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