Health Budget squabbling distracting from delivery

05 February 2018

Labour Health spokesperson Alan Kelly TD has said the squabbling between the Minister for Health and his Department, with the HSE over health funding is distracting from delivery, and reveals the lack of commitment from the Department to delivering on Sláintecare. He has also called for the draft service plan for the year to come to be presented before the Budget process.

Deputy Kelly said:

“Despite an all party agreement on Slaintecare the revelations from budget discussions between the HSE and the Department show that the Government is at best dragging its heels, or more realistically actively thwarting implementation.

“The mask has slipped in the revelations today that the Department wanted the HSE to be ‘nuanced’ in references to Sláintecare.

“We also now effectively have two health budget discussions – one at Budget time in October, and then the other around the publication of the HSE service plan. This is farcical and it is high time it is ended.

“The HSE has to deal with the reality of our health service and we should listen carefully when they say there won’t be enough funding during 2018 for essential healthcare and long delayed reforms.

“The HSE also has to plan for the future and I would be one of the first to criticise them if they failed to acknowledge the reforms we had put forward in Sláintecare, so I am taken aback that the Department wanted references to the transition fund and lack of an implementation plan changed.

“In the future, the draft HSE service plan should be presented to the Department of Health in advance of budgetary discussions. The two budget process is a waste of time and energy and a distraction from health delivery.

“On Sláintecare what we’ve seen so far is just more Government spin confirmed by the pictures tweeted by the Taoiseach and the Minister for Health of recruitment ads for the long overdue implementation post promised under the report. It would appear that in health policy as all else, it is the Strategic Communications Unit that rules the roost.”

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