FIANNA Fáil Spokesperson on Health Billy Kelleher has described the decision by Cork University Hospital to stop covering the cost of transporting patients to and from nursing homes as clear evidence that patient services are being directly affected by Minister Reilly’s failure to manage the health budget.
Deputy Kelleher said: “The Minister’s failure to bring forward accurate health estimates for 2012 and his failure to manage the budget in place to achieve savings in key headings has resulted in more cuts to frontline services. The Minister assured the Dáil and the public that he could make the necessary savings this year with limited impact on patients but we now know that this is not the case.
“Such is the extent of the Minister’s failure and the projected €500m spending overrun this year, Minister Brendan Howlin and the EU/IMF are now demanding detailed information from Minister Reilly on how the crisis is going to be tackled.
“The email from management at CUH about cost containment measures will not be unique to that hospital. Many hospitals around the country will now be under enormous pressure from the HSE and the Minister to make drastic cuts to get spending back in line. My fear is that this will result in very severe service reductions across the country.
“Management at CUH have said that in the event of the hospital being required to arrange transport for a patient, the cost incurred will be charged to the relevant organisation or passed on to the patient themselves with an additional administrative fee. If this is the Minister’s idea of managing the crisis in the health service then he should reassess his priorities. Lumping extra charges on nursing home patients for transport because the Minister has failed to manage the health service is not the answer.”