Government must address lack of capacity in health service – Cullinane
Sinn Féin Senator David Cullinane has called on the government to properly resource frontline staff in the health service and to lift the embargo on recruitment. Speaking during debate on the Longer Healthy Living Bill 2015, Senator Cullinane said:
“Sinn Féin supports this Bill which would allow employees of the Department of Health, and all those who are employed by bodies directly funded by them to postpone, if they wish, the age at which they retire.
“This bill is a small step in the right direction.
“As a result of the government austerity policies, we have a health service that is under-resourced and has serious capacity deficits.
“The issue of capacity is crucial and impacts frontline staff and patient outcomes.
“If we are genuine about improving the health service, we must lift the embargo on staff recruitment and ensure frontline workers are properly resourced.
“There is also the issue of workers who have contracts which force them to retire at age 65.
“Many do not have access to an occupational pension whether Defined Benefit or Defined Contribution and have no option but to sign on for Social Welfare until they reach 66.
“This matter must be addressed for all workers so that they do not find themselves forced to leave their employment with no option but Social Welfare Benefit.
“The question of the contract age of retirement versus the date at which a person is eligible to receive a State Pension is a matter which merits an urgent solution.
“In addressing the Longer Healthy Living Bill 2015, it is important that the plight of the people who are now trapped because of this inaction is not forgotten.”