'Hospital cuts warning ominous'

Fianna Fail says the warning by the heads of four hospitals that patient safety could be seriously affected by further health cuts is a cause for serious concern.

Fianna Fáil Health Spokesperson Billy Kelleher TD has called on the Oireachtas Health Committee to urgently make time available to hear from the Chief Executives of the four hospitals who have written to the HSE Director General Tony O'Brien warning that cuts in funding and rising demands for patient services have begun to seriously threaten the quality and safety of patient services.

Deputy Kelleher said this intervention by the chief executives of four of the country's largest hospitals was a cause for very serious concern.

"By effectively warning about the ability of their hospitals to maintain patient safety, they have sounded a sinister alarm about the real state of our health services under James Reilly's leadership."

"My party and I have been making the case for the last two years that Minister Reilly is not fit for purpose. The confirmation by the management of four critically important hospitals that his decisions are now threatening basic safety and services is quite extraordinary and we need to hear in full the exact nature of the threat and what is needed to mitigate it."

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) says it supports the view of the CEOs of the four major Dublin Hospitals - the Mater, St James's Hospital, Tallaght and Crumlin, warning the HSE that cuts are threatening patient safety and creating unacceptable delays in cancer treatments.

Liam Doran, INMO General Secretary said: "The letter from the CEOs confirms what this organisation has been saying for a number of years. Further cuts to the health budget, €666 million announced in the budget for next year, are unsustainable. According to the CEO of the HSE this figure may run to €1billion. Patient care will be compromised and safe practice will be impossible."

He called on the Government to look at other revenue raising measures to deal with the funding crisis such as increasing the price of cigarettes, beer and cider and putting a levy on sugar sweetened drinks. "All of these measures could positively influence current lifestyles while raising revenue."

Hospitals say cuts threaten patients

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