Galway West Fianna Fáil TD Éamon Ó Cuív has expressed his concern at the latest news of upcoming cutbacks to local health services. Deputy Ó Cuív was commenting following revelations this week that the HSE Ambulance Service Transport Budget for 2011 has been expended.


Deputy Ó Cuív explained, “This shock decision will affect hundreds of cancer and dialysis patients, many of whom are elderly and have to travel round trips of over 200 miles to avail of these services. According to a HSE letter issued to hospitals this week, these patients will now be left with no way of getting to their appointments and they have only been given just over a weeks notice.


“The HSE were aware of their available budget from the beginning of the year. I find it incomprehensible that a year’s budget could be spent in just six months. This is plain bad management should be accounted for.


 “The HSE is now under the direct political charge of the Minister of Health James Reilly, who vehemently promised during the general election campaign to protect vital health services. Having taken control of the HSE, he must now ensure that these services are restored forthwith and that he ensures that management provides services over a full calendar year.


“I am also concerned at the HSE’s delay in informing school leavers with intellectual disabilities about the services that will be available to them in the autumn. It is unacceptable that these young people and their families have not been allocated funding with six months of the year already gone. This is despite the fact that the previous Government provided €10 million additional funding for disability service for 2011.


“The constant passing the buck between the Minister, central management in the HSE, and regional and local HSE management makes it impossible for people to get accurate information and coherent decision-making from the health authority. Minister Reilly should immediately insist that these vital services are secured for the most weak and vulnerable in our society.”