Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Health Billy Kelleher has called on the Minister for Health James Reilly to publish the list of new healthcare cuts he is planning between now and the end of the year.
Deputy Kelleher has raised concerns that the hospital bed closures and frontline staff service cuts in the North East are the tip of the iceberg and similar cuts are planned nationally. He has accused Minister Reilly of hiding behind the HSE.
“Minister Reilly needs to come clean about what is going on here. These latest cuts are as a result of the Minister’s own political decisions and he cannot hide from them,” said Deputy Kelleher.
“Last week, the Fine Gael press office denied that such drastic cuts would be imposed on hospitals across the North East and accused Fianna Fáil of ‘scaremongering’ for raising legitimate concerns. Now that these cuts have been confirmed, the local Government representatives have gone to ground.
“I suspect that this is not confined to the North East and that Minister Reilly will be wielding his axe across the health services in other regions. By making a complete mess of the health budget for this year and failing to achieve the savings he promised in other areas, the Minister has forced himself into a situation where he has to impose sudden and drastic cuts to frontline services in the last four months of the year.
“People cannot abide the Minister’s failure to be honest with them. They also cannot understand why Minister Reilly is targeting frontline services at busy overcrowded hospitals, while failing to achieve savings elsewhere as promised. For example, why has the Minister done nothing to control the price of medicines?
“The Minister has misled the public for months on end about the extent of the crisis and so far the only people he has seen fit to communicate honestly with are his own Fine Gael colleagues. Now in order to cover his tracks, he is bulldozing through frontline services in the North East and I suspect he plans to do so elsewhere. I am calling on him to do the right thing and publish details of the cuts he has approved for the last 4 months of 2012.”