The announcement that the Minister for Health is seeking a Supplementary Estimate of €360m for the year 2012 is a damning indictment of James Reilly’s record at the helm of the health services according to Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD.
Deputy Ó Caoláin said:
“We have today received confirmation that Minister Reilly has requested a further €360m for the health budget before this year’s end. I welcome this news. It is, however, a damning indictment of the minister’s record at the helm of our health services.
“It serves as recognition of the fact that our health system was underfunded from the outset, as I have publically stated on many occasions, to deliver the services required. It highlights the recklessness of the cuts introduced by the minister in the Autumn. Cuts to home help hours and home care packages, vital supports for the elderly and infirm, were made in a cruel and indiscriminate way in a failed attempt to meet impossible budgetary targets.
“Furthermore, it reflects the fact that the minister himself failed to deliver on his own savings commitments. He has failed to deliver promised savings on the state’s drugs bill. He has failed to deliver promised savings on the cost of private care in public hospitals. These two measures alone would have brought his budget into line.
“The announcement comes on the same day that the INMO have announced findings of their recent research which indicates that cuts have resulted in serious under-staffing for front-line care in our hospitals and in the same week that the World Health Organisation and the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies advise that additional revenue will, in fact, be needed if necessary efficiencies are to be delivered in the Irish health service.
“The Taoiseach, the Minister, and the Government need to recognise that they are on the wrong track.”
The Supplementary Estimate will appear on the Dáil Order Paper next Tuesday, 4th December, before it is discussed at the Health sub-committee and returned to the Dáil for final adoption on Thursday, 13th December.