9 May 2016
By Bryan T. Smyth
Fianna Fáil Health spokesperson Billy Kelleher says his party will oppose Government plans to fragment health services.
Deputy Kelleher explained, “Fianna Fáil believes that health services should be organised and managed as a unitary national service that is strategically co-ordinated with a strong emphasis on integrated care.
“We believe the HSE should be improved, not broken up. The development and sustaining of integrated services on a national and regional basis needs a national structure.”
Deputy Kelleher also restated Fianna Fáil’s grave concerns about Government plans for the creation of independent hospital trusts.
“Government plans will see these trusts will manage their own recruitment, agree individual contracts with key staff and make collective agreements with their employees.
“I am very concerned as to what such a re-organisation might mean for services in hospitals such as Navan, South Tipperary General and Portiuncula. The services being provided in smaller hospitals will be at the mercy of larger hospitals and in an independent trust, and there will be no guarantees.
“Independent hospital trusts could also leave frontline staff in a vulnerable position in terms of employment status. This clearly means that there would no longer be national standards and terms for employing staff. It could lead to nurses in one hospital group being paid less or having different contracts of employment than nurses in another group. Obviously such a proposal could also lead to industrial relations strife in our hospitals too”.