Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Health, Billy Kelleher has said that the Irish public should be fearful for their health system in 2018 as a result of the HSE Service Plan announced today.
Deputy Kelleher was commenting after the HSE Service Plan for 2018 was announced by the Minister for Health, Simon Harris and the HSE Director General, Tony O’Brien.
“The fact that the HSE is predicting the need to make savings of €346 million even before the Service Plan is put into effect demonstrates the severe pressure health services in this country are facing.
“When we then factor in that of the €196 million in new funding, €143.5 million is being held back for a variety of reasons, one has to assume that this funding is not being ring fenced, and will instead be used to plug gaps as and when they occur in the health service.
“Our population is aging, and with changing health needs in terms of primary care, mental health, acute hospital care and disability, it’s scary to believe that the HSE and the Government are unable to budget and plan appropriately.
“We need to have an honest and frank conversation about how we fund our public health system. If we are putting forward service plans that will not meet, and cannot fund, the health requirements of our citizens, then we have a very serious problem.
“There is a need for more honesty and less spin from the Government when it comes to our health services. More frankness about the funding needs of our health system would be better for everyone concerned.
“It’s incredibly disappointing and worrying that the Section 39 organisations who do amazing work on behalf of the State have not received the funding they need to maintain services and to restore pay to their hardworking staff.
“The end result is that these organisations will now need to cut services in order to pay their staff the money that’s owed to them arising from FEMPI.
“I note that some acute hospitals have been awarded increases in their funding for 2018, including additional beds. However, can the Minister honestly say that these increases will be enough to end the scandal of sick people lying on hospital trolleys instead of being admitted to a hospital ward?
“I very much doubt that the Minister can answer that questions based on the 2018 HSE Service Plan that has been published today.
“Irish people should be worried about the future of their health service. I see nothing in the Service Plan that leads me to believe the Minister or this Government has a handle on the myriad challenges facing our hospitals, primary care services, mental health services, services for older people and for people with disabilities,” concluded Kelleher.