The revelation that the Health Services Executive are being forced to introduce cuts to the tune of 130 million euro have set alarm bells ringing throughout the health system, with many at the coalface expressing serious concerns in relation to the edict.
It would appear that given the significant overspend in the HSE budget, projected to hit half a billion by the end of this year, alarming cuts will have to be made to agency staff, home help and personal assistance hours.
Indeed, one prominent physician has warned that hospitals may well find themselves in a situation where they will have to close before the end of the year, as they will be unable to meet the costs of staff and services.
There have also been suggestions that patients will be sent home at weekends and re-admitted on the following Monday to achieve the savings which have been targeted.
This is a damning indictment of this Government and, more specifically, the Department of Health, headed by Dr. James Reilly – the same Minister who almost a year ago promised to re-instate 22 beds at the Community Hospital of the Assumption but who later forgot his pledge. Those beds remain lost to the Thurles facility and, given the disastrous state in which the Department of Health now finds itself, there is absolutely no hope of that promise being honoured.
Full story in this week’s Tipperary Star.