Ongoing delay in HSE Service Plan confirms cuts are untenable – Ó Caoláin
Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has said the further delay in the publication of the HSE 2014 Service Plan confirms that the planned cuts of at least €666 million to health services next year are untenable.
In a letter to the Oireachtas Health and Children Committee, Health Minister James Reilly states that the 2014 Plan has not been finalised and so he will not be able to discuss it with the Committee as scheduled this Thursday 12 December.
Deputy Ó Caoláin said:
“The Oireachtas Health & Children Committee was set to discuss the HSE 2014 Service Plan this week with the Minister, a very important opportunity given the level of cuts to Health imposed in the Budget. Now we find that the HSE Service Plan will not be ready for this week’s meeting with the Minister.
“I believe the further delay in the publication of the HSE 2014 Service Plan confirms that the planned cuts of at least €666 million to health services next year are untenable. A health system already deeply undermined by the cuts of recent years is expected to take further punishment in 2014 with front-line care of patients seriously affected.
“Minister Reilly should stand up and say that such cuts are unsustainable and this government should withdraw them.
“It seems, however, that the Minister for Health is stringing out the publication of the service plan in order to avoid full Oireachtas scrutiny. Next week is the last Dáil sitting week before the Christmas recess and the Dáil is not due to resume until mid-January.
“All the Minister can offer is the ‘possibility’ that preparation of the plan may be completed next week. Even if this is the case, the Oireachtas will not have the time to tease out its full implications before the recess.”