Fianna Fáil Health spokesperson Billy Kelleher has responded to the €680m supplementary budget for the health service.  The budget over-run, which is the biggest in the HSE’s 10 year existence, will see extra pressure mounted on services next year.

Deputy Kelleher commented, “The extent of bailout required by the HSE this year is staggering yet unsurprising and is the direct result of the fundamentally flawed 2014 health budget. The fallout from last year’s bogus budget has resulted in exorbitant waiting lists, increases in the number of patients on trolleys and long delays across a range of services.  The impact of these ill-thought out funding allocations are leading to diminished services across the health sector and will compound the pressure on already stretched resources.

“Only a number of weeks ago, Health Minister Leo Varadkar indicated that the supplementary estimate would be in the region of €500m, now it’s revealed that the true over-run is almost €700m.  The latest figures reveal there are more than 41,000 people waiting more than a year for an outpatient appointment, more than 2,000 older people waiting four months for a place on the Fair Deal scheme and the number of patients waiting on trolleys reaching emergency levels.  This dire situation is destined to deteriorate further next year as a direct result of bogus budgets.

“What is truly worrying is that the overrun for 2014 exceeds the proposed increase for 2015.  Effectively, the HSE will be on the back foot, lumbered with a €45m deficit as it starts into a new year.  The prospect is nothing short of alarming.  By the Department’s own calculations, an additional €200 million a year is required to meet demographic pressures on our health services.”

“The Minister must explain what impact this massive overrun will have on the health budget in 2015. He said on taking office that his key challenge was to deliver a realistic budget for health. The size of this overrun and the implications of it indicate that next year will be another uphill battle for our health services”.