October 16, 2023
Government must undo dramatic underfunding of health service to avoid catastrophic consequences – David Cullinane TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health, David Cullinane TD, has called on the Government to urgently undo the dramatic underfunding of the health service to avoid catastrophic consequences for patients and staff.

Teachta Cullinane visited St Luke’s Hospital in Kilkenny today where he met with management and staff who expressed serious concern about funding shortfalls and the recruitment embargo.

He said that this sends a seriously poor message to healthcare workers who are considering whether to emigrate and healthcare workers abroad who might be thinking of moving to Ireland.

The TD for Waterford said that the three Government leaders of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, and the Greens must urgently agree a supplementary budget for 2023, and a revised budget for 2024, to address the funding shortfall which is putting patients at risk and stalling essential clinical programmes to improve services across cancer, maternity, stroke, rare diseases, and more.

Teachta Cullinane said:

“The leaders of the three parties in Government made a deliberate decision to dramatically underfund our health services.

“The Government must act urgently to undo this dramatic underfunding to avoid catastrophic consequences.

“The consequences will be felt widely across all health services. The crisis in Emergency Departments will deepen. Patients will continue to languish on trolleys. There will be setbacks across mental health, disabilities and in key clinical strategies such as cancer, cardiovascular and maternity care. There will be no new money for patients in need of new medicines which become available next year.

“There is not even new funding to invest in digital transformation, which is absolutely essential if we want a more efficient and effective health service.

“I was in St Luke’s Hospital in Kilkenny today to meet with management and staff, who expressed serious concerns about funding shortfalls and the recruitment embargo. It sends a seriously poor message to healthcare workers, who are considering whether to emigrate, and healthcare workers abroad who might be thinking of moving to Ireland.

“Sinn Féin has consistently called for greater efficiencies in health care. We have warned that an overdependence on outsourcing, agency staff and management consultancy would drive up costs. This cannot be tackled without investment in public capacity, modern systems, and strategic workforce planning.

“Rather than investing in a better, more efficient health service, the truth is that this Government is instead targeting front line posts. They are scrapping 7,000 vital front-line jobs and putting in place a recruitment embargo on some doctors, healthcare assistants and home help posts. This will bite and bite hard.

“This Government has thrown in the towel on health.

“Sinn Féin has not. We have a plan to achieve efficiencies and target wasteful outsourcing but we will not cut front line health care services.

“This is a mess created entirely by this Government who are out of touch and out of ideas. They need to reverse their disastrous decision to deliberately underfund health and protect patients and those working on the front line.”

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