Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Health, Billy Kelleher has said that the revelation in today’s news that the Department of Health does not have the resources needed to complete a number of key infrastructure projects is proof positive that this Government cares more about announcements than delivery.

“Major infrastructure projects such as the National Maternity Hospital are now in serious doubt despite it being announced originally last year, and then re-announced just a few short months ago to much fanfare and with all the hype that we have come to expect from Fine Gael in office.

“This is very worrying, and Minister Harris needs to outline how he expects the Department to bridge the clear gap between expected costs and current capital budgets.

“A National Maternity Hospital or new critical IT projects are not optional extras. The Department’s submission to the Mid Term Capital Review clearly outlines the need for additional funding over the next five to six years to complete these important projects.

“Capital investment, across a wide variety of headings, in the health system is crucial. We have an acute lack of capacity and unfortunately, in many areas, poor facilities are resulting in worse than expected clinical outcomes.

“Separately, I am writing to the Minister for Health asking him to ensure that with regard to the Fair Deal Scheme, no service that is covered under the scheme is being double charged for by private nursing homes.

“Today’s report outlining the additional costs that many older people in nursing homes are being asked to pay for, separate to the Fair Deal, is very worrying. We need to make sure that the State is getting what it is paying for, and that older people and their families are not being double charged,” concluded Kelleher.