Fianna Fáil Health Spokesperson Billy Kelleher TD has reacted to the failure of Minister Varadkar to secure proper resources for his department in today’s budget.
Deputy Kelleher commented, “The budget allocation announced for health in 2015 amounts to the 2014 Budget plus the planned supplementary estimate. In other words, this is simply the level of budget required to stop things getting even worse.
“We know that the HSE will need a bailout of at least €500 million in 2014. That is testament to the fact that our health services were under resourced this year.
“The minimum that our health service needs to deliver the hardly satisfactory 2014 level of service in 2015 is €13.1 billion.
“On taking office the Minister for Health said that the most immediate challenge was negotiating a realistic and adequate budget for health for 2015 and that since the change of government, spending on health has been ‘flat’. The Minister also said that a ‘flat’ budget in health does not leave any space to care for a growing or ageing population and little space to fund new treatments and services.
“Well a ‘flat’ budget is what Minister Varadkar has secured for health services today.
“Notwithstanding his own department telling Minister Howlin that demographic change requires additional funding of about €200 million per year for the health service between 2015 and 2017, this is entirely absent from the estimate.
“The fact is that there will be no real improvement with what was announced in the Dáil today.”