Dublin South West TD, Seán Crowe, has described the news that the Department of Health is facing a funding crisis of at least €600 million as deeply disturbing. The Sinn Féin TD said it will inevitably impact on current and promised services.

Deputy Seán Crowe said:

“Years of budget cuts, dubious forward planning, poor work and pay conditions for frontline staff while more and management are employed, has broken our health system.

“All this has contributed to a health service that is not delivering services people need and certainly not without going over their budget.

“On budget day last year Sinn Féin warned the Fine Gael government, and Fianna Fáil who signed off on their budget, that they were not giving our health service the money necessary to even standstill let alone expand and progress.

“Weeks later the then head of the HSE wrote a letter highlighting the very grave impact of the government’s choices. He predicted the service was being underfunded for 2018 to the tune of hundreds of millions and this is exactly what happened.

“This year the government face the same dilemma, either face up to their legacy of underfunding of the health service, pay off the health ‘overspend’, and contribute funding for additional services on top of this, or they can continue with their false budgeting by pretending the crisis doesn’t exist or blaming citizens for getting ill.

“Any funding increase on last year’s budget below €600m will mean that no new services can be delivered and no amount of voodoo economics from Pascal Donohoe and Simon Harris can change that.

“In our alternative budget proposals we have covered the result of this under spending by allocating €600m to cover the health ‘overspend’, demographics, and pay, and we have also provided for an additional funding envelope of €450m on top of this to deliver the services our people need.

“Fine Gael  have a choice, they can either face up to their false budgeting and pay off the health ‘overspend’, or they can ignore it and let patients suffer because the health services will not be available.”