Gaelers Health Policy – Fair Care – Bill Tormey intends to pressure the party to accelerate the delivery of FAIRCARE if the DNW gives a mandate. This is ethically and philosophically a very commendable health system solution.

FG’s FairCare Will Abolish Micheál Martin’s HSE and Deliver a Dutch Style Universal Health Insurance System of Health Care

Fine Gael has committed to abolishing the HSE by 2016 and introducing a Universal Health Insurance (UHI) system based on the successful Dutch model, according to their Deputy Leader and Health Spokesman, Dr James Reilly.

He was speaking today (Sunday) at the Fine Gael launch on the Party’s health plan, FairCare.

“In 2001, Micheál Martin, then Minister for Health, announced his intention to end waiting lists by 2004. Both he and the HSE have spectacularly failed to meet this target.

“We recently witnessed 569 patients on trolleys in A&E and over 19,000 patients waiting more than three months for treatment.

“The message is simple; ‘Micheál Martin’s HSE is not working’. Fine Gael’s FairCare will completely reform the health system and is divided into three key phases:
Phase 1 (2011-14): Fine Gael will reform the current system to bring down waiting lists and build a stronger primary care system.
Phase 2 (2014): Fine Gael will change the way hospitals area paid. Block grants will be replaced by a system based on the numbers of patients they treat – ‘money follows the patient’. This will increase productivity by between 5% and 10%.
Phase 3 (2016): Fine Gael will begin the introduction of UHI. However, we know this is a long term project and bedding down all of reforms will take place during the following five years.

Phase 1 (2011-14): Reforming the current system

“A Fine Gael Government will ensure:

• A Special Delivery Unit (SDU), based on the successful Northern Ireland initiative, answering directly to the Minister for Health, will oversee plans to end existing long waiting times.

• More people are treated through primary care in the community rather than in hospitals – especially those with chronic illnesses. Fine Gael will examine a number of ways to widen access to GP care, such as, increasing the number of people who have a GP Visit card, ensuring that insurers include GP care in their packages. Free GP care for everyone will be gradually introduced under UHI and this will be fully bedded in during the second term of a Fine Gael Government.

• Costs are reduced through various measures, including an 8,000 reduction in HSE employees through normal retirement, voluntary redundancies, etc. No compulsory redundancies will be required.

Phase 2 (2014): Changing the way hospitals are paid

“To establish UHI, Fine Gael will separate the purchaser of healthcare (the State) from the providers of healthcare (the hospitals).

“The existing monster that is the HSE will be replaced by:

• A Healthcare Commissioning Authority (HCA), which will be established on a transitional basis, to purchase ‘cure services’ from hospitals. Local Hospital Trusts will be established where patients, staff and members of the local community have a real say. Once UHI is implemented, the HCA will cease to exist

• A separate Care Services Authority (CSA) will procure and manage long term care services on behalf of the State.
Phase 3 (2016): Introducing UHI

“The introduction of UHI will end the two tier system of health. Access to treatment will be governed by medical need, not financial worth. Once in place, everyone will have health insurance, with the state paying for children, students and those with medical/GP visit cards, and subsidising those on low income.

“Ireland will have one strong public health system where the State guarantees the level of service and quality while competing insurance companies will become responsible for much of its administration. The great majority of the HCA’s staff will now be employed directly by hospitals. Professionals whose work is not directly related to hospitals will have their employment contracts switched to the CSA. Fairness and respect for employment conditions will be central to this transition and will be negotiated with unions.”