Dublin Central Pre-Election debate Update

Health inequality tops agenda in constituency with poorest access to primary healthcare

Dublin Central election candidates were this evening (Tuesday) challenged to back universal access to health services at a meeting in Ireland’s constituency with the poorest access to primary health care. Candidates from all parties were invited to the meeting on ‘Your Vote and the Future of Health Care,’ which was organised by Claiming Our Future. They heard that the north inner-city constituency had the lowest GP coverage per head of population and the highest incidence of GP lists ‘closed’ because of access demand.

Dublin Central-based GP Austin O’ Carroll said that the constituency combined some of the worst health and deprivation indices in the country with the poorest access to primary health services. “This proves the maxim that those most in need of health care are least likely to get it,” he said.

Darragh O’Connor, convener of Dublin Central Claiming Our Future, told the candidates and audience that universal access to health care was a priority agreed by over 1,000 people at a Claiming Our Future gathering last October. “Equality in the health system cannot be ignored if Ireland has any hope of becoming a society that values people and is a better place to live in for all and not just a few’, he said.

Journalist and health analyst Sara Burke told the audience: “How you vote in the next election will decide the type of health system we have for generations to come. The party manifestos clearly set out the type of health services our politicians think we should have.”

Claiming Our Future is a social movement working for a more equal and sustainable society. Its local groups are holding 20 plus public meetings across the country to quiz election candidates on their policies. The movement recently published a summary of its policy priorities, which were first agreed at Ireland’s first ‘Citizen’s Forum’ last autumn. The priorities include:

· A sustainable alternative to the boom-and-bust economy

· A more equal society

· Political reform

· Decent and sustainable jobs

· Radical reform of the banking system and

· Public service reform.

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