What Fine Gael would do with the health care system

24th February, 2010


Our healthcare system is a mess. Our healthcare spend has quadrupled since 1997, yet Irish citizens still receive a standard of healthcare well below the EU average, with huge waiting lists, overcrowding of hospitals and a two-tiered system which is both inefficient and unfair.

Money alone cannot fix this problem: we need new thinking, and a new approach. Our ‘FairCare’ policy will ensure our healthcare system works effectively and efficiently, to provide better healthcare for everyone.

FairCare is based on the Universal Health Insurance system, which has already proved extremely successful in Holland. It represents a fundamental reform of the Irish healthcare system, which will see waiting lists abolished, patient-centred care and an abolition of the current two-tiered system.

Phase 1: Maximise what we have (from Year 1)

We will immediately implement a reform of how our hospitals work, making the Minister of Health directly responsible for hitting key targets, including the slashing of waiting lists and improved community-based rehabilitation and delayed discharge services. This will work with the resources we have available, and can be achieved without significant increases in spending.

Phase 2: Money follows the patient (from Year 3)

Under the current fixed budget system there is no incentive for efficiency or productivity as each patient is an extra ‘cost’. We will introduce a system where healthcare providers will be paid based on how many patients they treat. This will allow us to abolish the National Treatment Purchase Fund, immediately saving €100 million a year.

Phase 3: Universal Health Insurance (from Year 5)

Once Phases 1 and 2 have been successfully implemented, Fine Gael will introduce a system of universal healthcare for all, where everybody will be able to choose a health insurance provider. There will be a means-tested subsidy for lower income families and Medical Card holders will receive vouchers for the full cost of insurance. GP, hospital and pharmaceutical care will be covered.

More information about FairCare is available on the website: www.faircare.ie and there is also a Questions and Answers page: http://www.faircare.ie/qa.htm. The full policy document can be found at HERE.