THIS week the Dáil will debate the ongoing crisis in the health service budget. The current €280m deficit and projected €500m deficit by the end of the year are the direct result of a failure to accurately plan and properly manage the budget for 2012.
Deputy Kelleher said: “The Health Estimate in Budget 2012 was misleading on the basis that it was based on assumptions and targets that were not deliverable by the Minister for Health.
“The income streams and expected savings from the cost of public beds being charged to insurance companies, drug pricing and reducing agency costs are not on target and are not being achieved. Meanwhile, agency staff will cost in excess of €200m this year while overtime cost €170m last year and €69m in first 5 months of this year.
“Minister Reilly submitted figures to the Budget 2012 process predicting a significant increase in revenue. However, he has failed to bring forward the legislation required to allow this additional income seven months after the budget was announced. Either he knew that the prediction was completely inaccurate in the first place, or he has been in dereliction of duty in the meantime.
“There is no leadership at the top of the health service. The Minister’s chaotic ad-hoc approach is not working and must change. For example, it’s now 14 months since he abolished the board of the HSE. Unbelievably, 14 months on he has failed to take any legislative or other action to improve governance within the health system.
“At this point in the year, our main concern is that his overspend will begin to have a major negative impact on frontline services and patient care. People will not accept the closure of wards, theatres or hospitals as a result of the Minister’s failure to bring the health service budget under control.”