HSE savings still possible but underfunding must be addressed – Ó Caoláin
Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has commented on reports that the HSE is to seek an additional €1.9bn in funding for 2016, which includes the €500m overrun envisaged for 2015 and €650m to maintain service levels on a par with demographic changes.
Deputy Ó Caoláin said;
“Health spending over recent years has been characterised by some quarters, including the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council, as including wasteful overruns. While there are many areas in health where costs can be reduced still, the truth is that health services are underfunded at present and have been underprovided for over many years.
“The state drugs bill is one area where Sinn Féin has identified scope for further savings. These savings must be realised. Improvements to clinical practices, in line with best practice for treatment must be made year on year in order to reduce health spend. We must also recognise that if there is no increase to the health budget that cares for an ageing and increasingly sicker population this in fact represents a cut to healthcare provision.
“Minister Varadkar has tried to appease public concern that the health budget was inadequately provided for in the present year. It is evident that, despite his claims, this is the case. There will most likely be a supplementary budget later this year. A realistic costing of the required overall budget is needed to allow our health services to provide the necessary level of care across the state. Where possible excessive expenditure must be reduced, particularly on the drug spend but this and future Governments must commit to adequately funding our health service.”