People Before Profit believe that healthcare is a human right that must be funded from general taxation. We believe that everyone should have equal access to this system based on their medical needs not their ability to pay. To achieve this we advocate moving towards a National Healthcare Service that is universal, comprehensive, democratically planned, funded by progressive taxation and free at the point of use.
Five Key Aspects Of A National Healthcare System
- Democratically Planned and led by Workers
- Funded through general taxation
- Free at the Point of Use
Beyond this we would abolish all GP charges, prescription charges, and other out-of-pocket charges by reducing the drug payment scheme threshold to zero.
Britain created its National Health Service in the wake of the devastation created by the Second World War – proving that resources are not the issue. The key problem is ideology, as successive governments have allowed private profit making into public healthcare. This is out of step with the recent Slainte Care Report – nominally backed by most parties in the Dail – which advocates “a healthcare system where the majority of services are delivered in the community, where care is safe, timely, and accessible, and access is based on need not ability to pay”. 18 If implemented, Slainte Care would move healthcare in a progressive direction but the government have yet to financially back the plan put forward in 2017. We support key aspects of this model, but we would go much further in preventing profit making from people’s healthcare.
DID YOU KNOW?
Irish people take 40% more prescription drugs than the European Average. This is partly due to having the longest waiting lists for medical treatment in Europe.
PREVENTION BETTER THAN CURE
If one strand of our policy is equal access to medical treatment, another is the need for a more healthy society. Ireland is completely overmedicated with people taking €500 worth of prescription drugs annually. One reason for this is the massive waiting lists in Irish hospitals which have coincided with a rise in the use of powerful pain medication of 1,000% over the last decade.19 The pharmaceutical industry have a strong profit motive in keeping people on medication, but this is both expensive and often comes with damaging side effects.
People Before Profit believes in a different model of health and wellbeing. Our goal is to reduce dependency on medication through tackling waiting lists, investing in primary health care centers and promoting healthier lifestyles. In particular, we would:
- Replace the Health Service Executive with democratically elected Health Councils and an Independent Health Promotion Agency.
- Create a network of 500 Primary Care Teams working from Community Primary Health Care Centres and aligned with a community based system of social care.
- Increase funding for early intervention and increase personal assistants payments to give everyone the chance to live independently.
- Prioritise mental health spending by moving to 12% of the overall health budget.
- Use public facilities to create cheap gyms and community fitness programmes (Operation Transformation in the community for example).
- Create Fruit and Veg Clubs in all schools to make sure children get their five a day.
- Create a country wide system of cycle lanes to incentivise people to cycle to work and around their communities.
2019 Policy Interventions
- Create 1,000 new beds
- Employ 4,000 extra nurses
- Universal free GP care
- Universal Primary Care