Listen here for my Drivetime radio slot on health hustings and anything new the parties had to say on health
With jobs and the economy top of the election 2011 agenda, is health really a concern for voters and candidates in this election?
Apparently at the Fianna Fáil think in earlier this week, there was a good bit of disgruntlement as to why the Minister of Health is not a Fianna Fáiler.. Where have they been?
Politically, however, it is interesting times. If we think about the shelf life of this government. Many are saying, the government will not last til Christmas, and maybe they won’t. But usually in Irish politics, it is the small things that trip up coalition governments.
Yet, look at the current precarious, balance of power – the four Fianna Fail back benchers who are outside the party whip have all left on health related matters.
- Joe Behan resigned the whip when medical cards were withdrawn from over 70s last October
- Jim McDaid lost the whip when he opposed the u-turn on the cervical cancer vaccine last November
- Jimmy Devins and Eamon Scanlon in July when the withdrawal of cancer services from Sligo took place.
Health issues could still be the stumbling block for the current government. What is also interesting is that now, for first time ever, all the opposition parties are unified in wanting a universal, one tiered health system, allbeit it in different, unworked out ways.
This makes the work of the Expert Group on Resource Allocation and Financing all the more important. Announced on 1 April (no joke) and chaired by Frances Ruane, they have pretty limited terms of reference but they could be laying the foundation work for different times ahead…