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The Health Department is getting half a billion in extra funding to try to fix some problems

The increased funding of 7.4% will bring the total spend for health in 2017 to €14.6 billion.

file-pics-hse-says-urgent-cases-are-being-treated-quickly-despite-lengthy-waiting-lists-4-390x285 File photo.

THE HEALTH DEPARTMENT is getting an extra half a billion euro to help it better perform.

Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe announced increased spending for the Department of Health of €497 million this afternoon as part of Budget 2017.

The increased funding of 7.4% this year will bring the total spend for health in 2017 to €14.6 billion.

Donohoe said this would be the “highest level of health funding” in the history of the State.

“This huge level of increased investment not only continues the process of putting our health service on a sustainable footing – it also represents the highest ever level of health funding in the history of our country,” he said.

The Health service in Ireland frequently runs over budget every year with issues commonly arising.

Patient waiting lists, lack of trained staff and beds at hospitals are some of the key issues in the sector that need to be tackled.

Donohoe announced a number of other measures today to try to ease teh burden on the health service. These include:

  • Increasing medical card coverage to all children in receipt of domiciliary care allowance
  • Reducing the €25 cap on prescription charges for over-70 year olds to €20 from March next year
  • Allocating an extra €15 million to the National Treatment Purchase Fund in order to reduce waiting lists.

Health Minister Simon Harris said recently that he expects the service to come in on budget this year.

However, opposition politicians were quick to criticise the measures and the health service.

Independent TD Stephen Donnelly said that the Ireland already had one of the most expensive health services in the world.

“Another €500m to health – one of the most expensive on earth already but rated close to bottom in OECD,” he said.

Need to fix the system.

Harris is due to announce more details of the Health spend  later on this evening.

Read: Budget 2017: New measures to tackle tax evasion, in direct response to Panama Papers

Read: Budget 2017: Smokers have been hit hard again, but alcohol and petrol are staying the same

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Cormac Fitzgerald

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