Health services in Donegal are under fresh threat from new HSE plans to implement cuts of almost e700m across the sector, according to Labour General Election candidate Jimmy Harte.
The HSE Service Plan for 2011, published today, plans to implement cuts amounting to €683m which will inevitably mean a significant reduction in a range of services that are already stretched to breaking point. Cllr Harte, a member of the HSE Forum for the West, said the plans could spell disaster for Letterkenny General Hospital and primary and community care services in the local communiity, and called for more clarity on the issue.
“Local health services have already fallen victim to mammoth cuts in funding and services following the HSE West budget adjustment process this year. Today’s announcement threatens to further damage our already fragile system and I ask that Donegal health service be spared from these draconian plans. It is imperative that the employees of the health service have the ability to carry out their duty in an effective and efficient manner, but this will be made much mored difficult if further cuts are coming down the line,” he said.
Cllr Harte said: “The proposal to cut hospital in-patient admissions while increasing day case treatment is welcome in principle, but it will only work if the resources and facilities are already in place to cope with the additional number of day cases. This is not the situation in many hospitals. There is much detail in this plan, which will need to be looked at closely, and I am concerned that there may be further cuts, over and above the €683m, hidden away within the small print.”
He continued: “The Labour Party accepts that savings have to be effected in the health budget, as in every other area, but it seems that the government has chosen once again to target services for patients, when there were other options for savings. Much more could have been done in the budget by Minister Harney to effect savings in professional fees, through the greater use of generic drugs and by charging for the full cost of private beds in public hospitals.”
“The combination of Mary Harney and Fianna Fail has been lethal for our health system and it will be clearly up to the next government to start the process of rebuilding and repair.”