March 23, 2021
HSE return to services plan needs significant investment to catch up and keep up – David Cullinane TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health David Cullinane has said that the HSE’s A Safe Return to Services plan will need significantly more investment to keep up with service demand. He said that the HSE services will barely if even keep up, never mind catch up, without this.

Teachta Cullinane said:

“It is important that HSE services resume at a normal level as quickly as possible.

“The plan for resuming care is welcome but it is disappointing that it is not accompanied with additional investment from government.

“We cannot forget our health and social care professionals, especially those on the front line, who are exhausted. We need to fill vacant posts and give these workers the quality of life and work-life balance that they deserve.

“It is unfair to put the burden of underinvestment on their shoulders. The HSE will need significantly more investment to keep up with demand.

“Waiting lists are nearly at 900,000 people. When you add the decrease in referrals last year, this rises beyond 1,000,000.

“There is a tsunami of missed care coming at us.

“To keep up and catch up, we need to see significant and targeted investment in the workforce and in the tools of the trade.

“It will be a struggle to maintain core services on existing capacity, never mind catch-up on missed care.

“Additional capacity means more beds, and government targets are falling hundreds of beds short of IMO recommendations.

“We need to listen to the professionals delivering healthcare and equip them with what they need. That includes filling all of our vacant posts.

“This means new diagnostic and referral pathways, and investment in consultant-led teams to free up healthcare professionals to deliver healthcare instead of paperwork.

“It also means investment in equipment and theatre space. Diagnostic and treatment equipment and space is severely limited, and additional consultants won’t be able to work effectively without investment in equipping them.

“The HSE have launched their plan but none of this will be reached without capacity boosting measures.

“It will take really significant investment to achieve this including leveraging private capacity as appropriate.

“But we have been relying on the private sector for decades now and that has not cleared waiting lists. They have only grown. The only solution is expanding public capacity.

“We will be launching our plan in the coming weeks to take pressure off and support those on the frontline who have given so much over the last year.

“The waiting lists show that the health service will be facing a huge challenge for quite some time to come.”

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