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HSE's €130m spending cut 'will be vigorously opposed'

Health service says cuts have to be made before the end of this year if it is to meet budget targets set down by the government and Troika.

Image: clevercupcakes via Creative Commons

THE HSE’S PLAN TO cut €130 million from health spending over the rest of this year has been heavily criticised this evening.

The health service announced earlier that the cuts were being made in order to met its budget targets for 2012 as set by the government and the Troika. Announcing the cuts, the HSE acknowledged that it is “inevitable” they will have some impact on frontline service delivery.

Responding to news that the HSE intends to reduce the provision of Home Help services by 5.5 per cent as part of these cuts, trade union SIPTU said it will “vigorously oppose” the plan.

“What this [reduction] means in reality is that the elderly and other vulnerable people who depend on these services are to suffer in order to satisfy a book-keeping exercise which has already proven to be an abject failure,” said SIPTU organiser Ted Kenny.

Kenny said that the planned cuts are “in addition to a further financial attack on hospital services that will result in a reduction in the number of beds in wards and have an extremely adverse effect on the level of care provided to the general public”.

“The health care system is being pushed beyond breaking point. SIPTU members will not stand idly by and allow this attack on the sick and vulnerable to proceed.”

Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil spokesperson on health Bill Kelleher called on Minister for Health James Reilly to communicate with the public about these cuts.

“People across the country are wondering, where is their Minister for Health and who is in charge?” he asked.

“People do not want to hear about these cuts from the HSE. This is Minister Reilly’s responsibility and he has a duty to explain what is going on so that people know what to expect.”

Sinn Féin health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin accused the government of putting “the diktats of the Troika before the old and the sick and people with disabilities in Irish society”.

“The further reduction in spending on the use of agency staff and on overtime will throw our public hospitals into ever deeper crisis,” the TD added. “The use of agency staff and of overtime have been made necessary by the continuing recruitment freeze and these further cuts will now see more hospital beds, wards and operating theatres closed across the country and longer waiting times and greater misery for patients.”

HSE announces €130 million in cost-saving measures to meet Troika targets >

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