Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Health Billy Kelleher has called for immediate clarity from the Government on funding for the health service after Minister Leo Varadkar admitted that the budget overrun this year will be over €500m.

Minister Varadkar has also told the Dáil he will be seeking a neutral budget for next year and not seeking to spend any more in 2015 than in 2014.

Deputy Kelleher said: “If Minister Varadkar is telling us he needs a budget bailout for the health services this year of over €500m and says and the budget for next year should be ‘neutral’, he is admitting that the health sector needs at least €1bn in extra funding just to maintain services.

“This is an extraordinary admission of the scale of the funding crisis in health that has been deliberately concealed by the Government.  People across the country know that their local health services are in very serious trouble, that frontline staff are under huge pressure and that budgets are in chaos.

“It was clear to everyone from the budget last year that the figures and targets for 2014 were entirely flawed and completely unachievable.  What we need to see on budget day in two weeks is a realistic budget 2015.  A budget that will maintain and support services, ensure patient safety and be honest and achievable.”