Sinn Féin TD for Clare, Violet-Anne Wynne, has spoken out today against the repeated mismanagement of the health budget and warns that unless structural issues within the HSE institutional culture are streamlined, our healthcare system will continue to crumble.
Teachta Wynne says:
“Year after year we have seen Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael pour money into the HSE, in a vain attempt to improve access to high-quality healthcare services.
“The ESRI have projected that we need an additional €12bn to fund the primary, community and long-term health needs of Ireland’s population over the next 14 years.
“This is a trend of successive governments – fire more money into the heath budget, but to what end?
“In 2021 there were longer waiting lists than ever before seen in this State. Sinn Féin have produced a detailed proposal that would seek to address these unacceptable waiting lists when in government.
“The current government is quick to deflect from this systemic fault and blame the Covid-19 pandemic or the recent ransomware attack on the HSE IT systems for our buckling healthcare system.
“But the truth is that the reason why spending has been consistently increased year on year without any detectable improvement in healthcare services is that the vast majority of this money has ended up being siphoned off across wholly unnecessary ‘executive management’ positions.
“Since 2013, the number of executive managers across HSE governance structures has increased exponentially. Across the most senior levels, managers increased from 172 to 364, which is a rise of 112%, with corresponding increases of 82% in senior management; 62% in middle management and 17% in clerical.
“Paul Reid himself has come out and said that there is ‘overlap’ in the organisational structures of the HSE, yet they have taken no action to streamline these structures.
“This explains why we have been throwing money into health and not seeing any benefits. It is not the ‘executive managers’ who are performing and providing essential care services. We need investment in more on-the-ground and frontline staff not management.
“It explains why we are in a healthcare crisis. And finally, it explains why we can’t afford to continue to throw increased budgetary allocation at a structurally ineffective system.
“It’s as clear as day; health spending is being mismanaged and the governance structures need to be reformed if we stand any chance at salvaging a chronically ineffective healthcare system where the people of Ireland cannot access services and treatment in a safe and timely manner.”