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Minister Reilly must reverse Harney/HSE cuts – Ó Caoláin

28 April, 2011 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has called on the Minister for Health James Reilly to reverse the cuts to health services imposed by former Health Minister Mary Harney and the HSE, following Minister Reilly’s call on all members of the Board of the Health Service Executive to resign.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

“If the Board members of the Health Service Executive resign and the cuts imposed by former Minister Harney and the HSE remain in place then this will be an empty gesture as far as patients are concerned.

“Under the Health Act 2004 the Minister has the power to remove all the members of the HSE Board if he is ‘satisfied that the Board’s functions are not being performed in an effective manner’. The Minister has not used this power because he knows that, while the HSE is top heavy with bureaucracy and over-paid executives, it has carried out Government policy and Government policy has been at the root of the crisis in our public health services.

“Minister Reilly needs to set out in detail his plans for the public health services. Today’s gesture was an ad hoc move. We need to see the legislation on which his promised reforms will be based.

“In the meantime the Minister must reverse the savage health cuts. There are around 1500 closed beds in our public hospitals and ongoing crises in A&E departments, waiting lists for operations and a shortage in front-line hospital staffing.

“In our Health Manifesto Sinn Féin calls for the restoration of direct Ministerial and Departmental responsibility for health services which are funded by public money. We urge the removal of the top heavy bureaucracy of the HSE and a review of managerial and administrative posts within the health service and the Department of Health & Children, eliminating those positions that are surplus to requirements and using the money saved to hire more front line health professionals.

“The Minister should cap salaries in public health services at €100,000 per annum. 110 HSE staff receive more than €100,000 per year. The CEO of the HSE is on a salary of €332,113 per annum, with National Directors on sums ranging from €145,949 to €192,492.”

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