October 8, 2019
More of the same for health service in 2020 as Budget fails to deliver – Louise O’Reilly TD

Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Louise O’Reilly TD has said the crisis in the health service for patients and staff will only get worse in 2020 due to utter failure of this Budget.

Teachta O’Reilly said: 

“The government have committed an additional 6.3% current funding for the health service – however, this is far below the level of funding needed to deliver current services and any additional or new services.

“Sláintecare itself recommended that the current health budget needed to be increased by at least 7% per year.

“Despite the spin and the figures thrown out by the Minister for Finance, the truth is that this level funding will neither allow for additional new services and will result in the further stretching of existing services.

“There is so little for the health service in this Budget that there are not even enough measures to hide what is not there. It fails the health service, patients, staff, and it fails as a commitment to Sláintecare.

“The government have heralded the allocation of a million extra home help hours as a key measure of this Budget, however, this addition will barely clear 40% of the home support waiting list.

“Instead of going down, the waits for home support will just increase even further next year.

“Another headline measure, increasing funding to the NTPF, has been a proven failure for the past two years.

“Last year the government increased funding for the NTPF to €75 million, and what happened in real terms – outpatient waiting lists have grown by 54,000 to 569,498 while the number of patients waiting over 18 months has grown by 24,000 to 106,786.

“Furthermore, the national maternity strategy needs at least €7.5 million per year over the next 10 years to keep it on track.

“Yet, the government will not properly fund it, instead they are on about splitting a derisory €8 million between four essential and key health strategies – the National Cancer Strategy, National Maternity Strategy, National Trauma Strategy, and Vision 2020 – the National Ambulance Reform plan.

“There are no measures in the Budget to reopen closed beds in our hospitals in order to address the crisis in capacity in the health service. Indeed, there are scant measures to increase nurses and doctors in the health service.

“No wonder the Irish Hospital and Consultants Association have voted no-confidence in the Minister for Health. Indeed, the Irish Medical Organisation said that this Budget ‘will not allow for any new service development while existing services will be further stretched’.

“Mark my words, the health service will not have enough money to provide necessary services next year and we will be back in the same position of collapsing services and a funding overrun.”

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