Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Health Billy Kelleher has said there are key questions that remain unanswered about changes made to the HSE Service Plan for 2014, published just days before Christmas, to make it more politically acceptable.
Deputy Kelleher commented: “It has been clear for some time that Minister Reilly has put politics squarely back at the centre of the decision making in the health service but the fact that the Service Plan for this year seems to have been sanitised by Ministers before being released is very worrying. The public have a right to know the true extent of the cuts for 2014 and the impact they will have on frontline services across the country.
“Tomorrow Minister Reilly and HSE director general Tony O’Brien will appear before the Health Committee tomorrow to discuss the 2014 Service Plan but the reality is our hospitals around the country have started the year in the dark. The Regional Service plans are an extremely important component in the delivery of local services and community care programmes. The fact that we don’t know how the National Service Plan will be rolled out is a significant difficulty for those trying to plan for the year ahead.
“Just before Christmas it emerged in media reports that the HSE Service Plan that Minister Reilly brought before Cabinet had to be changed to make it more politically presentable. This is not good for confidence or transparency in the health service and I am calling on the Minister to publish the original plan so it can be compared with the final version published before Christmas.
“Morale in the health service is at an all-time low and we’re shaping up to start 2014 where last year finished off, with the budget in a shambles, services on a knife-edge and a Minister completely out of touch with what’s happening on the ground.”