Longer waiting lists, more bed closures, medical card cuts the cards

2014 is highly unlikely to see any improvements in Donegal’s health services ; indeed, things could get considerably worse.

The county is facing more cutbacks including the withdrawal of more medical cards, longer hospital waiting lists, more frontline staff shortages and cuts to long term care facilities under the HSE Service Plan for 2014 published yesterday

That’s according to Fianna Fáil Deputy Charlie McConalogue who has described the plan as a ‘sham’ and says it’s clear that frontline health services in Donegal will be badly hit.

Speaking yesterday the Inishowen TD warned that 2014 would be a difficult year.

He said: “This plan isn’t worth the paper it is written on.

“ It aims to slash a further €619 million from the national health budget next year.

“But when you look into the detail, €108 million of that is ‘unspecified cuts’.

“Where exactly does the Minister intend to get this from?” said Deputy McConalogue.

He went on: “The HSE has actually admitted that even they have no idea where the €108 million from.

“Every single year since coming into office we have seen the Health Minister James Reilly create chaos with his budget, forcing him into making more cuts to our frontline health services throughout the year.

“It’s the patients in Donegal and across the country that suffer as a result.

“Looking at this plan, it seems we can expect further chaos and more severe cuts in 2014.

“The HSE has itself specified serious risks associated with this plan.

“It says the lack of Government investment in long stay care homes means there’s a risk of more bed closures resulting in greater pressure on our local hospitals and even longer hospital and community waiting times. “

The Fianna Fail representative said it was only too clear that health services here in Donegal were already stretched beyond capacity, staff were under more pressure than ever before and waiting lists had already spiralled out of control.

He concluded: “ There is simply no way of slashing a further €619 million more without hitting our frontline services again and again, and further affecting patient care acroos the county.