Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health David Cullinane TD has criticised the Government’s budget for the health service for 2024 as a work of fiction. He said that the Government has deliberately underfunded the health service and engaged in financial gimmickry, illustrating the dishonesty at the heart of the budget.
Teachta Cullinane said that a lack of ambition and planning means that at best 160 hospital beds will be added this year, when 1,000 are needed.
Teachta Cullinane said:
“The Oireachtas is being asked to accept at face value a Health budget that is a deeply dishonest work of fiction. Dishonesty is at the heart of this budget. We know that the health service does not have enough to standstill. We know that there is no real commitment to new measures. We know that there will need to be a significant supplementary estimate by the end of the year. The Government have made sure of that by deliberately underfunding the health service.
“We are still waiting on the delivery of beds promised in 2020, and we know the health service is short another 1,000 beds right now. There are 160 beds to be delivered this year, a mere fraction of what is needed. This failure will bed-in overcrowding problems for years to come due to a lack of planning.
“Limited recruitment targets will be hit quickly, and the recruitment embargo will continue. Without new staff and sufficient funding, the HSE cannot reduce outsourcing or create new, cost-effective services.
“This Government lacks ambition and snail’s pace delivery is also evident with elective centres. They have still to reach the starting gate for Dublin. These centres will be essential in tackling waiting lists long-term, and are needed to build up public capacity.
“Services are already stretched across community services, mental health services, and acute hospital services, yet the Government is starving the health service of new investment.
“IFAC criticised the Government’s budget as financial gimmickry, and that behaviour is evident in more than one area.”