November 22, 2023
Government has made an unconscionable decision to put patients’ lives and wellbeing at risk this winter – David Cullinane TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health, David Cullinane TD, has accused the Government of making an unconscionable decision to put patients’ lives and wellbeing at risk this winter and beyond.

Deputy Cullinane was speaking after the government late tonight voted to keep the recruitment embargo and underfund the health service.

Teachta Cullinane said:

“The Government has tonight indefensibly voted to put patients’ lives and wellbeing at risk this winter and beyond.

“It is unconscionable that the government, with their eyes wide open to what the consequences will be, voted to keep the recruitment embargo in place and doubled down on underfunding the health service.

“This will have dire effects on patient safety, and patient and staff wellbeing. It will spell disaster for health services right across the state.

“Already facing into a difficult winter, the CEO of the HSE Bernard Gloster confirmed to the health committee today that next year will, in his words, be ‘extremely challenging’.

“We know that is an understatement. We know that €500 million of the €1.5 billion health budget deficit for this year will be carried into 2024, and that 4000 to 5000 fewer new staff will be recruited compared to recent years. 

“What that means is the removal of vital frontline vacant posts which were needed for the winter ahead and beyond, and the withdrawal of job offers from prospective health service workers. 

“It has sent a message to Irish workers abroad not to come home, a message to workers frustrated with the health service in Ireland to emigrate, and a message to overseas health services to come and take our healthcare workers.

“Our health service is now truly behind the eight ball and that is a conscious decision taken by this government. A decision that will spell disaster.

“People want and need to be able to access decent and reliable health services, and they want to see investment in our health services. If the Minister for Health does not see that, he is in the wrong job and he, and this government, needs to go. 

“We need a new Government and a Minister for Health with the drive and political will to fix the problems in our health service.”

Sinn Féin’s motion, rejected by government tonight, can be read here.

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