Health Capital Programme short on detail and undermined by current spending cuts – Ó Caoláin
Commenting on the health element in the government’s Infrastructure and Capital Investment 2012-2016 programme, Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD said:
“While the government states that close to €2 billion will be invested in health capital spending in the 2012-2016 period, more could and should be done if the government did not continue to insist on paying Anglo-Irish Bank bondholders. The health capital spend for the next four years amounts to more than a billion less than the annual cost to the State of the Anglo-Irish debt.
“The capital programme for health is short on detail. The commitments to fund the National Children’s Hospital and to expand radiation oncology are welcome but there is no detail of how and where vital primary care centres are going to be provided.
“From the point of view of health service users this capital programme is undermined by the savage spending cuts that continue to be imposed. For example, the HSE is retreating from care of the elderly as shown by the closure of care homes in Abbeyleix, Dublin and Athlone in the past year. Much existing infrastructure – such as wards and beds in public hospitals – is going unused because of the recruitment embargo and spending cuts.”