I recently received an e-mail from Arthritis Ireland asking me to become an ‘Arthritis Champion’ and commit to appointing 6 consultant rheumatologists, 29 clinical nurse specialists, 12 advanced nurse practitioners, 21 physiotherapists and 32 occupational therapists within 100 days of assuming office.

As I have made clear previously, I cannot commit to policy pledges, as these may later conflict with my constituents’ votes under the direct, digital democracy I will implement. I can only lay out my own views and what I intend to do barring contrary instructions from my constituents.

I am very strongly in favour of implementing free universal healthcare in Ireland. I personally lived under two different forms of universal healthcare for the first 25 years of my life and I assure you it was a million miles better than the piecemeal health insurance system we’re currently using in Ireland, where it always turns out that you are rarely actually insured for anything.

Care for arthritis and any other health issues fits under general healthcare policy. Anyone who has arthritis should get whatever care they need, that care should be easily accessible and it should be provided as part of a socialized universal healthcare system.

In my model, as long as the healthcare system shows a demand for and proven benefit of rheumatologists, physiotherapists, etc. the money will be provided, whatever that concrete number happens to be.

Arthritis Ireland

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