Our health service in cuts crisis
THE extent of the €750m health cuts flagged in the HSE service plan is far- reaching. It makes for frightening reading for many who depend on our health service.
Under the plan, approved by Health Minister Dr James Reilly, up to 550 nursing home beds will go, 500,000 home-help hours will be lost, disability funding will be slashed and the colon cancer-screening scheme delayed.
An unspecified number of beds will also be closed this year -- and the plan leaves scope for yet more cuts.
It states most of the cuts will impact directly on front-line services.
All this raises the question of whether we missed a crucial chance to make our health service more efficient during the Celtic Tiger era.
Hopefully, there may still be room for efficiencies without directly affecting front-line services in our hospitals.
Otherwise, the cuts will spell fear and dread for some of the most vulnerable and sick people in society.