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Government need to go back to drawing board on Health Budget – Adams

19 October, 2016 - by Gerry Adams

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD, speaking during Leaders’ Questions this afternoon, has said the government must commit to going back to the drawing board in the coming weeks in order to ensure the health service is adequately resourced saying that ‘the Taoiseach cannot pretend that a net expenditure of €147 million will solve the crisis in our health service’.

Teachta Adams said:

“As winter approaches, the number of patients on emergency department trolleys is increasing once again. Yesterday there were almost 450 patients waiting for beds. If that trend continues, December and January is going to be chaotic.

“This morning, cardiologists at the Mater Hospital serving adult patients with congenital heart defects warned that the service was being stretched to a critical point.

“The two consultants working in the service stated that they were dealing with approximately 4,000 patients, and had insufficient resources, staffing and laboratory access.

“There are just two part-time consultants and two nurses for almost 4,000 patients, with 400 coming into the service year on year. There is also a shortage of secretarial and administrative support. The Taoiseach will agree that this situation is quite shocking.

“Last week, Ministers made grand claims about an increase in the budget for the health service, but the reality is such pronouncements were deceptive and grossly exaggerated. The bulk of the increase is funding is required simply to stand. It will have little impact on waiting lists, the trolley crisis and adequately resourcing services.

“When the money required to cover pay restoration, estimated at €97 million, and demographics, estimated at €119 million, is stripped away, the budget increase for health shrinks to just €147 million. All of us know that is grossly insufficient. 

“Sinn Féin’s Alternative Budget on the other hand proposed an additional €465 million investment in health over and above payments for demographics and the Lansdowne Road agreement.

“The Taoiseach must commit to going back to the drawing board to ensure that services such as the Acute Cardiology Unit in the Mater are adequately resourced and take on board what hospital consultants are saying.” 

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