Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Health Billy Kelleher says the HSE Service Plan for 2015 will do nothing to eliminate lengthy waiting lists or reduce the pressure on frontline staff across the health service.  The funding allocations announced today are merely aimed at maintaining the status quo but could in fact lead to greater inefficiencies in the system.

Deputy Kelleher commented, “By the HSE’s own admission this plan will not be sufficient to fully address the increasing demands being placed on our hospital system, in particular the growing waiting lists for elective admissions.  While I acknowledge some new developments proposed in the 2015 HSE Service Plan there is no doubt that the measures are inadequate, and will fail to meet the demands likely to be placed on our health services next year.

“We have seen waiting lists soar this year as a direct result of the flawed plan that was approved for 2014.  In the first 9 months alone there has been a 20% increase in waiting times for inpatient cases, and the number of people waiting more than a year for an outpatient appointment rose from 9,406 in January to 46,642 at the end of September – a jump of 385%.

“The government is continuing to renege on commitments it made on mental health funding; the announcement today is €15 million short of what was promised. If the Minister for Health was honouring the commitments made in the Programme for Government, €50 million would be provided in 2015.  Once again, it is the most vulnerable people that will lose out under this questionable budget.

“Clearly it is going to be another difficult year for our health services, and this budget leaves no room for manoeuvre.  Once again we see mental health funding short-changed, and any inroads that could be made into the waiting list crisis will be insignificant.  No attempt has been made to ease the pressure on frontline staff and issues surrounding patient safety remain a real concern”.