The Minister for Health James Reilly must explain how he can stand by targeted cuts to homecare services for older patients and people with severe disabilities.
Fianna Fail Health Spokesperson Billy Kelleher has said yesterday’s announcement of €130 million in extra health cuts has caused genuine distress in communities across the country, and particularly to high-dependency patients who need home help.
“Well may Minister Reilly hide,” said Deputy Kelleher. “He has approved a slash and burn of homecare supports that will hit thousands of highly dependent older and disabled patients across the country. This is from a man who said he would resign rather than cut services without something in their place to replace them. He cannot and must not be allowed to hide from the effects of his Homecare cuts.
“Crocodile tears from Labour and Fine Gael backbenchers will not wash. It was they who shouted down Micheál Martin in the Dáil when he tried to warn about the implications of Reilly’s failure to get to grips with his out-of-control budget.
“The programme of cuts announced yesterday is a dangerous and extremely short-sighted policy. It will put patient safety at risk and will cost the health services far more in the long-run. I can only assume by Minister Reilly’s silence that he too understands the gravity of his own decisions. But he has no-one to blame but himself. It is his terrible mismanagement of the health budget and his failure to deliver that has left the system is such a mess.
“I am asking James Reilly to explain himself. When he was in opposition he couldn’t pass a microphone – now that he is responsible for cutting services all over the country he is nowhere to be seen.”