Little prospect of reversal of cuts to frontline health services - Caoimhghín O Caoláin TD
Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has described Budget 2015 as a wholly unimaginative budget that offers little prospect of any real reversal of the serious cuts that have been inflicted on frontline health services over these past seven austerity budgets.
Deputy Ó Caoláin said;
“At best Budget 2015 seeks to meet only the current cost of the existing configuration of our health delivery systems with an additional €557 million provided for health expenditure in 2015. What of the need for a comparable sum in supplementary terms in 2014? Will that need be provided for before this year’s end or will the so called overspend be brought forward into 2015, further crippling our already overstretched services?
“Whatever details that Minister Varadkar will share with us when he rises to address the Dáil tomorrow; there is no indication of any intent to recruit the much needed additional frontline health staff including Consultants, NCHDs and Nurses. There is no indication of any practical investment in our emergency services, including additional ambulance and first responder staff. There is no commitment to roll out BreastCheck to women between 65 and 69 years. There is no commitment to reduce, let alone do away with prescription charges for Medical card holders, a charge former Minister Reilly had promised to abolish but ended up increasing by 400%. There is no commitment to further reduce our state spend on drugs. And there is no provision for additional monies for suicide prevention and for funding to disability services, including the recruitment of much needed physios, speech and language therapists and occupational therapists.
“It is clear that the crisis in our health services is going to continue. We have a new face at the helm of the Health Department but the same old failed policies continue to hold sway”.