Government can’t fund any new health services unless €600m health ‘overspend’ is paid off - Louise O'Reilly TD
Speaking this morning Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Deputy Louise O’Reilly has said that the Irish health service stands at a significant crossroads as we approach Budget 2019 and said unless the government allocate funding to cover the €600m health ‘overspend’ then additional services, such as abortion services, cannot be funded.
Teachta O’Reilly said:
“For some time now in budget after budget we’ve witnessed the systematic under funding of the health service. The inevitable outcome of this is that the health service cannot deliver the services people need without going over budget because it was underfunded in the first instance.
“Last year on budget day my colleague Pearse Doherty TD warned the Fine Gael government, and Fianna Fáil who signed off on the Budget, that they were not giving our health service the money necessary to even standstill let alone improve.
“Weeks later the then head of the HSE wrote a letter highlighting the very grave impact of the government’s choices. He predicted the service was being underfunded for 2018 to the tune of hundreds of millions and this is exactly what happened.
“This year the government face the same dilemma, either face up to their legacy of under funding of the health service and pay off the health ‘overspend’ and contribute funding for additional services on top of this, or they can continue with their false budgeting which they have been doing for years.
“If they decide the latter then it is completely disingenuous for the Minister for Finance and the Minister for Health to claim that additional services will be funded and rolled out, such as abortion services.
“Any funding increase on last year’s budget below €600m will mean that no new services can be delivered and no amount of voodoo economics from Pascal Donohoe and Simon Harris can change that.
“In our Alternative Budget proposals we have covered the result of this under spending by allocating health €600m to cover the health ‘overspend’, demographics, and pay, and we have also provided for an additional funding envelope of €450m on top of this to deliver the services our people need.
“So, Fine Gael can either face up to their false budgeting and pay off the health ‘overspend’ or they can ignore it and let patients suffer because the services will not be available or they will be stretched beyond breaking point. The ball is in their court this coming Tuesday."