Deputy Michael Lowry has hit out at HSE cutbacks announced earlier this week and declared the cutbacks to be proof of the mismanagement of the HSE by Minister James Reilly T.D.
The Independent T.D. for North Tipperary explained that given the huge over spend in the HSE budget, projected to hit half a billion by years end, the HSE have now been forced to introduce drastic cuts to the tune of €130 million.
Deputy Lowry stated;
“The HSE have announced massive and alarming cost saving measures that will have a devastating impact on services and facilities across the board. Whilst exact details of cuts at local level are not yet available the HSE have confirmed that severe cuts will be made to agency staff, home help and personal assistance hours, and to home care packages. Essentially more beds will be closed and further vital services lost.”
“The HSE is in total disarray and Minister Reilly is scrambling from one crisis to the next. Minister Reilly has completely failed to grasp the reins or take charge whilst the HSE runs wildly out of control and over budget. Whilst in opposition he waxed lyrical about the radical changes and reform that he would introduce. There has been nothing but deterioration in health care provision since he became Minister. Even whilst this crisis unfolded the Minister was ominously silent on this matter and let the HSE take the fall.”
“Health care across Tipperary has already faced numerous cuts to date and has been left devastated due to cutbacks. It seems now that more pain is coming down the line and more services will be lost. The effect of these cuts on already grossly overburdened systems is frightening. Carers are being abandoned by this government and are gradually being stripped of all supports available to them. We have already seen the loss of beds in Thurles and Roscrea and home supports for carers are now facing the chop. These cut backs directly attack the most vulnerable in our society and target already strained carers. The cuts to home care go completely against the stated Governmental objective of caring for individuals in their homes and in the community and out of primary care facilities for as long as possible. Time after time we have seen the Government row back on election promises made, it seems that promises made to protect front line services is the latest stated policy to be abandoned by the Government.”
“Day after day I meet carers who are under severe pressure and are desperate for some further assistance or support. Many of the people who contact my office have been told that there is no respite available or there is a huge wait for respite beds. Despite this the Government have allowed a situation to arise where these carers are now the ones being targeted once more. This is hugely shortsighted as carers do vital work in keeping elderly and unwell patients out of hospital and give them the care they need in their own home. I am hugely concerned that this cut is just the tip of the iceberg and more draconian cuts will need to be introduced before years end and into 2013 to try and rein in the runaway overspend. Until we see some meaningful reform and a tackling of the real issues at play, such as the use of expensive drugs over generic drugs, it seems that frontline services will constantly bear the pain of these cuts.”