April 10, 2024
Cancer survival rates at risk due to government decision to underfund health service – David Cullinane TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health David Cullinane TD has again criticised the government’s deliberate decision to underfund the health service in 2024 following stinging criticism from the Irish Cancer Society that improvements in cancer survival rates are at risk due to government failure. The CEO of the Irish Cancer Society made these remarks in the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health this morning.

The TD for Waterford called on the Taoiseach Simon Harris to live up to commitments he made as Minister for Health and to immediately fund the National Cancer Strategy for 2024.

Teachta Cullinane said:

“When we said the Budget 2024 would have consequences for patients, we were not being dramatic. We are seeing those consequences now. The lack of funding for the national cancer strategy is having serious consequences for patient safety. A plan without funding is not a real plan – it is just words on paper.

“We heard very direct evidence from the Irish Cancer Society and the National Cancer Control Programme that the lack of funding will have an impact on cancer outcomes. They no longer have confidence in the Strategy’s chances of improving cancer survival rates.

“This is a damning indictment of the Taoiseach Simon Harris, Minister Donnelly, and the entire government who signed off on this disastrous budget.

“They cannot say they were unaware of these consequences because the National Cancer Control Programme and the HSE sought €20 million in additional funding to deliver the strategy in 2024 but received zero.

“The Government made a conscious decision not to give a single additional cent to the cancer control programme. Like many areas in healthcare, as we see with University Hospital Limerick, we have a Government and a Minister who are always falling behind instead of getting ahead of problems.

“In five of the last seven budgets, they did not properly fund cancer services. That decision will have far reaching consequences for years to come. The health service will not be able to address workforce challenges and infrastructure challenges without additional funding, and patients will suffer as a consequence.

“For all the spin and hollow rhetoric from Simon Harris over the last number of days, the reality is that he and the cabinet have thrown in the towel on health.

“This must be a wake-up call for the government whose political failure is directly contributing to poorer cancer outcomes. They should immediately revise the budget for the health service for 2024 and put a multi-annual funding plan in place for cancer services.”

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