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Decisions on health funding crisis must be made by Dáil

23 February, 2009 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Commenting on today’s (Monday) crisis meeting of the Health Service Executive and the possible shortfall of over €1 billion in its budget, Sinn Féin Dáil leader and Health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD said that strategic decision-making should be taken from the HSE and that the Dáil is the place where the future of the health services should be planned.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

“The Health Service Executive faces a possible shortfall of over €1 billion in 2009 due to the Government-created economic recession and due to the disastrous policy failure to successive Fianna Fáil-led governments to truly reform our health services. Our inequitable health system is now faced with even more savage cuts that will drastically affect the care of patients if the Government is allowed to continue to hide behind the HSE which will wield the knife on behalf of Fianna Fáil and the Green Party.

“Real savings need to be made and can be made by ending all State subsidies for the private for-profit health sector, reining in those consultants who profit from both the private and public systems, cutting the drugs bill through the use of generic drugs and the establishment of state pharmaceutical procurement and distribution company.

“Instead the Government and the HSE are preparing to cut services for patients and the pay of front-line healthcare workers. If they proceed in that way the damage to our public health services will be catastrophic and will exceed the damage caused by cuts in the 1980s.

“It is now time for strategic decision-making to be taken out of the hands of the HSE and placed where it belongs – with the elected representatives of the people in the Dáil. Any revised Service Plan and Budget for the HSE must be placed before the Dáil so that the Taoiseach, the Health Minister and their colleagues can be fully accountable. Equally importantly, the Government must listen to and take on board the constructive proposals of all parties.” ENDS

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