We in the National Association of General Practitioners, representing 1,505 of Irelands GPs passed the following motion at our AGM on January 29th, 2016 at Maynooth.

“We call on all party leaders and independents to form a cross-party consensus on health policy, to involve all the stakeholders in health to inform a consensus plan for health for the coming 20 years.”

We believe that the current five-year electoral “health cycle” has a detrimental effect on the planning and delivery of patient care.  Each new Government, elected every five years, understandably brings its own ideas and energy to the table but may implement change with unintended consequences.  Politically driven decisions made with good intentions may sometimes be counterproductive to good patient care as the process itself leads to frequent changes in direction and policy.  Without an agreed and stable vision for health care reform and a reasonable time-frame to achieve effective change, it is difficult to see how we can resolve the major challenges we have in our health service, including manpower, morale, resources, service development, connectedness and physical infrastructure.

Money alone will not create a functioning health service.   Confidence, connected care and a clear, uninterrupted process of reform can deliver for patients. Vision and certainty is needed to progress this. Unless we know where we are trying to get to in health, with all the stakeholders having an input into what that destination should be, and by using a well thought out 20-year plan, we cannot solve our country’s current health crisis. We believe that General Practice, working with our partners in primary care and hospitals, has a major role in developing a sustainable and efficient health service that puts patients first. The transition to achieve this goal using GP-led primary care requires a politically agreed mandate that can be independent of the vagaries of our electoral cycle. This “New Deal” in health needs an agreed plan that puts patients first and a realistic time-frame to deliver.

The NAGP are keen to participate in the required transformation of our health service. We are willing to work with all the relevant parties in an agreed forum, to find solutions to Ireland’s numerous but not insurmountable health challenges. We believe that taking politics out of health in developing a consensus around healthcare direction would be a major first step in this journey for our shared patients. We believe that engagement and dialogue among all the parties can be a major driver for agreed, sustainable and meaningful change.

In this electoral year of 2016 let us begin the journey to take politics permanently out of health and deliver an agreed Healthcare Plan for our patients and communities. We call on all political parties and independents to support such a consensus approach to healthcare.

Sincerely Yours,
Dr Andrew Jordan
Chairman
National Association of General Practitioners
17 Kildare Street
Dublin 2.

CC: An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Deputy Michael Martin TD, An Tánaiste Joan Burton, Deputy Gerry Adams TD, Deputy Stephen Donnelly TD, Deputy Lucinda Creighton TD, Eamon Ryan, Deputy Shane Ross TD, Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett TD, Minister for Health Leo Varadkar TD, Deputy Billy Kelleher TD, Minster of State Kathleen Lynch TD, Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD, Tony O’ Brien Director General HSE, Jim Breslin Secretary General Dept of Health, John Hennessy National Director, Primary Care HSE

Community Health Organisations
CC: John Hayes CO Area 1, Brendan Gloster CO Area 2, Brendan Gloster CO Area 3, Ger Reaney CO Area 4, Aileen Colley CO Area 5, Martin Queally CO Area 6, David Walsh CO Area 7, Pat Bennett CO Area 8, Gerry O’ Neill CO Area 9.