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Further half billion in cuts will devastate health services – Ó Caoláin

5 December, 2011 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Sinn Féin health and children spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD said the savage cut of €543 million in 2012 will devastate the health services. He also said the cuts to Child Benefit are “another attack on children in low income families”.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

“The savage cut of €543 million from the health services announced by Brendan Howlin today will devastate healthcare provision in this State and will make patients suffer. This cut comes on top of the €1 billion cut from the health services in 2011.

“Our hospitals and other services are under enormous pressure and these further attacks will deepen the crisis.

“There are over 2,000 public hospital beds currently closed due to cutbacks. 3,100 nursing and midwifery posts have already been lost due to the recruitment embargo. Thousands more front-line posts will be lost over the next three years as a result of the savage cuts being imposed by Health Minister James Reilly and his Fine Gael and Labour colleagues.

“It is disgraceful that €50 million is to be cut from disability, mental health and children’s services. Services from hospitals to home helps, from primary care to mental health, from nursing home care to child services will be reduced.

“Minister Reilly’s confirmation this afternoon that more nursing homes will be closed in 2012 is terrible news for older people and their families across the country as we approach Christmas.

“Once again citizens are paying the price. The increase in the threshold for the Drugs Payment Scheme from €120 to €132 imposes yet another burden on the sick and on individuals and families who must struggle to meet the monthly cost of medicines.

“The reduction in Child Benefit for third and subsequent children is another attack on children in low income families. This cut comes as child poverty increases with the deprivation rate in this State up from 11.8% in 2007 to 22.5% in 2010. The abolition of the back-to-school clothing and footwear allowance for 2 and 3 year olds attending pre-school and its reduction for older age groups speaks volumes of this Coalition’s so-called commitment to children in low income families.”

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