Health Care is essential to human well being, but our current services are highly unequal and inefficient. The richest people have a greater and more facilitated access to health services than poorer people, and even those suffering serious illnesses are made to wait.
People Before Profit want to end this health apartheid. Our goal is to use resources to track patients’ needs, to promote health and foster preventative behaviours, rather than seek private profits through the market.
Rather than tinkering with the old health system as political parties have heretofore done, People Before Profit proposes introducing radical structural changes. This involves moving towards a National Healthcare System that is universal and paid for through progressive taxation.
The move to a National Healthcare System includes:
- Establishing an Independent Health Promotion Agency to promote health
- The abolition of the HSE. Hospital groups and CHOs are to be integrated and governed by new health councils.
- The creation of a network of community primary care centres with free GP care for all.
- The guaranteed access to health care within 18 weeks.
- The guarantee access to emergency hospital care within 4 hours of presenting to an Emergency Department, elective hospital inpatient care within 12 weeks of referral, outpatient care within 10 weeks and diagnostic procedures within 10 days.
- A move to 21,000 beds nationally to increase capacity. Compulsory purchase private facilities required as part of increasing the number of public beds.
- The re-opening of hospitals and Emergency Departments closed during the recession
- Ending the ‘outsourcing’ of frontline health service jobs and non-medical healthcare staff
- Reducing profiteering by private drug companies and gradually moving towards the development of a National Pharmaceutical Company.
- The abolition of prescription charges and all other out-of-pocket payments such as hospital in patient charges.
- The establishment of 500 primary care teams and primary care centres to house them.
- Increased funding for Mental Health and ringfencing funding for child and adolescent mental health.
- Increased Personal Assistant Hours so people with disabilities can lead independent lives.
Policies On Mental Health
Ireland has a major mental health issue and the FF and FG governments have done little to tackle it. People Before Profit wants to change that.
For the past twelve years, mental health has been the Cinderella of the health services. Just 5% of the health budget has been devoted to mental health services.
People Before Profit want to increase the funding for mental health services to at least 12% of budget in line with other EU countries, with a minimum 25% earmarked for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.
We need to fund and staff Primary Care Mental Health services to give a quick response to mental health difficulties early in the course of Ill health.
The underfunding of mental health is linked to an over reliance on medication to manage mental health difficulties.
People Before Profit want to fund alternatives to medication including psychotherapy, social prescribing, social support, including adequate housing and employment/income; and improve the focus on recovery in terms of both physical health and social participation in service users.
About half of mental health disorders begin before the age of 14.
To prevent the development of mental health complications reduce we need to reduce waiting time for special needs assessments to the statutory limit of starting within 3 months and finishing within 6 months and fund therapists including Psychologists, SLTs and OTs to ensure treatment plans are implemented.
We need to improve cooperation between mental health and disability services.
We need improve services for vulnerable groups: Children, elderly, migrants, Travellers, LGBTQ+, prisoners and people with disabilities and developmental difficulties such as autism.
We should urgently implement Vision for Change staffing recommendations for secondary care in Mental Health services with Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services a priority.
Finally we should stop discrimination against drug users in mental health services and improve the availability of non-drug solutions to mental health difficulties.