Healthcare For All

Access to healthcare when and where you need it is a fundamental right in any decent society, but it was the first casualty as the recession hit. One in every eight patients on a hospital waiting list is in the queue for over a year. Some people are waiting for up to four years to see a consultant. We have seen a deterioration of the ambulance service with potentially lethal consequences. The government has failed to honour its commitment to provide €35 million of ring-fenced mental health funding. And under this government’s watch our public system’s workforce has been shrunk by 9,255 whole-time equivalent staff.


The health system continues to fail people because it is a grossly inequitable two- tier, public-private system. Access to care is not based on need alone. Ability to pay is still a key factor in access to
care both in terms of timely access, and in many cases, quality of care.

Sinn Féin Would:

  • Progressively introduce a universal public healthcare system that provides care to all free at the point of delivery, on the basis of need alone.
  • Tackle Emergency Department overcrowding and the trolleys crisis by opening and staffing more acute hospital beds and step-down beds and by investing in care services based in the community.
  • Phase out public subsidies for private healthcare.
  • Prioritise the extension of free GP care, abolish prescription charges and ensure children with serious illness and disabilities get the medical cards that they need.
  • Reduce the cost of medicines in our health system, including through changes to procurement.
  • Reduce waiting times by reversing the chronic under capacity across the system by recruiting additional frontline workers, including nurses, Speech and Language, Physio and Occupational Therapists, GPs and specialists.
  • Take action to make our maternity services safe including through the recruitment of additional midwives.
  • Increase emergency ambulance cover for each of the four regions.
  • Increase the suicide prevention budget and roll-out Suicide Crisis Assessment nurses in primary care and liaison nurses in A&E units.