Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has said that the HSE Divisional Plans published today implement the Government’s budget cuts to health and the HSE 2014 Service Plan which are unsustainable.
Deputy Ó Caoláin said:
“If the production of glossy HSE reports could solve the crisis in our health system it would have been solved long ago. Today the HSE has published five Divisional Plans totaling over 250 pages with numerous tables, graphs and statistics but the bottom line is that these plans implement the cuts of at least €619 million imposed by the Government's 2014 Budget and the HSE Service Plan.
“These cuts are unsustainable. Hospitals are expected not only to function as last year but to perform better with a reduction of €200 million in their budgets. Already struggling acute hospitals face an average reduction of 4% in their funding. Front-line care, even by the HSE's own admission, is being affected, with a drop of 25,000 in the number of day cases and 3,000 in the number of in-patient treatments.
“An example of how unrealistic these plans are is the target to reduce the delayed discharge of patients from acute hospitals by 4%. Yet the allocation for nursing home beds has been reduced, which will mean many more older people spending longer in scarce hospital beds because there are insufficient nursing home places for those requiring residential care.
“I have no doubt that Health Minister James Reilly will be coming back to the Dáil again later in the year for supplementary funding to try to clean up the mess which he and his cabinet colleagues are creating in our health services.”