Budget 2022 falls short of what working people need from our healthcare system according to Claire O’Connor, Workers’ Party representative for Dublin Central.

O’Connor said:
“The announcement that free GP care will be extended only to children aged six and seven does not go far enough. Every man, woman and child in this country should have free access to primary care. We need a NHS-type model of healthcare which would be paid for through taxation. Everybody pays their fair share, everybody gets use out of it and society as a whole benefits.”

“As it stands, the rising cost of living means that many families will have to choose between a doctor’s appointment or paying their bills. This will widen health inequalities.”

“While we welcome the introduction of free contraception for women between the ages of 17-25, we ask why is 25 the cut-off point? Why should we wait until next August for this to be implemented?”

“The government has missed an opportunity to expand pharmacy services, ensuring that contraceptives are available from pharmacies without prescription, therefore avoiding the need for an expensive GP appointment. The expansion of pharmacy services is something that Slaintecare was supposed to look at in detail.”

“Likewise, the reduction of the drugs payment scheme to €100 will not help many working families who are already struggling to pay for prescriptions and GP appointments, and of course the levy on prescriptions for those on medical cards remains, acting as a barrier for some of our most vulnerable in terms of their access to medication.”

“The Irish Medical Organisation have warned that we are at a capacity crisis in terms of staffing levels. Despite this, we continue to overload our healthcare workers without any plan for recruitment and no real sustainable workforce strategy.”

“The budget announcements simply don’t go far enough. It could be too little too late before they ever take the necessary action. The government is throwing crumbs and, in reality, delivering very little to working people and our families.”