Cuts based on McCarthy Report will destroy health services – Ó Caoláin
Sinn Féin Dáil leader and health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has challenged Health Minister Mary Harney to put plans for up to €800 million in health service cuts before the Dáil on its resumption in September. He said that if such cuts are proceeded with and are based on the proposals in the McCarthy ('Bord Snip Nua') Report they "will destroy our public health services".
Deputy Ó Caoláin said:
"The confidential letter revealed this week from Minister Harney's Health Department to the HSE calls for up to €800 million in cuts to our public health services in 2010. It requires the HSE to bring forward cuts on the basis of the McCarthy ('Bord Snip Nua') Report. If implemented the savage cuts proposed by McCarthy would see thousands of people losing their medical cards, new charges for all prescriptions including those for medical card holders, higher costs to all patients for medicines, higher charges for hospital and nursing home care and means testing for home care for vulnerable older people. Such cuts, in addition to those already being imposed since the autumn of 2007, will destroy our public health services.
"I challenge Health Minister Harney to put any proposed package of cuts before the Dáil immediately on its resumption in September. This is about the future of our public health services and Minister Harney and her Fianna Fáil/Green Government colleagues must set out exactly what they are proposing. They must be accountable and cannot hide behind the HSE or hope to conceal from the people the real impact and the long-term implications of savage health cuts.
"We in Sinn Féin will continue to vigorously oppose the Government's attacks on our public health services." ENDS