Thursday, June 26, 2014

Supplementary health budget was €595 million in FF’s last year in Government

Fine Gael Meath East TD and member of the Oireachtas Health Committee, Regina Doherty, has today (Thursday) reminded Fianna Fáil that the supplementary budget for Health was €595 million during the Party’s last year in Government. Her comments come after Micheál Martin criticised the Government over the challenges facing the health budget for this year. 

“Fianna Fáil has absolutely no credibility to talk about the management of our health services or the health budget. In 2010, Fianna Fáil’s last year in Government, the supplementary budget for health was €595 million. In 2001, when Micheál Martin was Minister for Health and money was plentiful, the supplementary budget was €250 million. 

“In 14 of the last 17 years, there has been a supplementary budget in health. When Fianna Fáil was in charge of the health service it failed to introduce reforms and its only legacy is the establishment of the HSE, which has proven to be a completely inefficient structure.

“It is farcical that Fianna Fáil’s health spokesperson, Billy Kelleher, would claim that under Fianna Fáil, supplementary budgets were used to introduce ‘new services’. I wonder can Billy tell us what new services were introduced in 2010, when the biggest ever supplementary budget was needed?

“It is impossible to talk about the challenges facing the health sector without taking account of the huge budget reductions that have been necessary thanks to Fianna Fáil’s mismanagement of the economy. The health service has endured budget cuts totalling €3.3 billion, while at the same time demand has increased significantly and staff numbers have been reduced by 14,000.

“It’s also hard to listen to Fianna Fáil lecturing on health, when it doesn’t even have a policy of its own. Fianna Fáil went into the last General Election with a manifesto that didn’t even have a health section. 

“In 2013, Micheál Martin published a policy guide promising a detailed document on how the health system should work at a later stage. There’s still no sign of it. And the paper authored by Brian Turner, which the Party loves to mention, contained the following disclaimer: 'The views expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the School of Economics, University College Cork or Fianna Fáil.

“We recognise that our health system is dysfunctional, and that’s why we are replacing it with a new system of Universal Health Insurance with strong financial incentives through the introduction of Money Follows the Patient. Under very difficult circumstances, we are gradually getting health spending under control. Fianna Fáil should reflect on its own terrible record in health rather than shout hypocritically from the Opposition benches.”

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