Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has said the HSE and the Fine Gael/Labour Government are targeting the most vulnerable in the further drastic Health cuts announced this afternoon (Thursday 30 August 2012).
Deputy Ó Caoláin said:
“The cuts announced today by the HSE can only be described as savage. They target the most vulnerable in our society with major reductions in home help hours and homecare packages and personal assistance. 200 homecare packages per month are to be reduced while there is to be a 5.5% reduction in home help hours. The €10 million reduction in Personal Assistant hours for disabled people is truly shameful.
“These cuts represent an attack on vulnerable older people and others who require care in their homes, and on the disabled. It must be remembered that existing home help, homecare and personal assistant services are insufficient to meet the need that is out there, yet now they are to be further reduced. And this while the HSE and the Government are slashing the numbers of public nursing home beds and claiming that the priority is to keep older people living in their own homes!
“The further reduction in spending on the use of agency staff and on overtime will throw our public hospitals into ever deeper crisis. The use of agency staff and of overtime have been made necessary by the continuing recruitment freeze and these further cuts will now see more hospital beds, wards and operating theatres closed across the country and longer waiting times and greater misery for patients.
“It is very clear now that the Fine Gael/Labour Government puts the diktats of the Troika before the old and the sick and people with disabilities in Irish society. How long will they continue to run our public health services into the ground? There must be a major change in both economic strategy and health policy or we face complete melt-down in public health services in this State.” ENDS