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€532 million hole proves that health budget is "not fit for purpose" says Fianna Fáil

Billy Kelleher says the HSE’s budget is based on “flaky assumptions”.

Image: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

REVELATIONS THAT THE Department of Health will overspend by over €500 million show that the health budget is “not fit for purpose”.

That is the opinion of Fianna Fáil’s health spokesperson Billy Kelleher.

Kelleher was speaking after an Irish Independent report claimed that a confidential government document forecasts that the Department of Health will overspend by €532 million.

The overspend would put significant pressure on the government’s ability to ease cuts from elsewhere.

The HSE’s chief financial officer told the paper that he didn’t believe that the overspend would reach the €532 million, with other sources saying the figure will be closer to €200 million.

Whatever the figure, Kelleher feels that the budget is “unrealistic”.

“While it would be too early to make any conclusions on the full financial outturn for the year, what this morning’s story proves very clearly is the point Fianna Fáil have been making for some time – that the Health Budget negotiated by Minister James Reilly is simply not fit for purpose.

“It was unrealistic to begin with, was based on flaky assumptions and flakier targets, and was cobbled together to get Minister Reilly through a short term problem with no thought for the longer term implications.

“What we need is a proper reappraisal of the health budget and reassurance from Government that budget issues will not be allowed to impact on front line services.”

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