Charities say health budget not enough
HEALTH organisations and charities have issued a guarded welcome to the HSE's €12.2bn national service plan for 2015, which will see an increase in overall spending of €115m.
Last night, they cautioned much more funding will be required to treat Ireland's ailing medical services.
The plan announced yesterday includes an additional €20m for disability services, €25m to begin addressing delayed hospital discharges, €25m in free GP care for young children and €35m for mental health services.
Tadhg Daly, CEO of Nursing Homes Ireland, said the €10m allocated for the 'Fair Deal' budget is a "step in the right direction" and will mean an extra 300 nursing home places next year.
He said there are currently 2,000 people who have been medically assessed as needing nursing home care awaiting Fair Deal payment.
"Clearly this will alleviate the stress for some families and we hope the Government will see that additional resources are required to deal with the underlying problem," he said.
Dr Gerard Crotty, president of the Irish Hospital Consultants' Association, acknowledged "the first health budget increase in years" but said hospitals will continue to be overstretched.
"Unfortunately, the crisis is likely to continue unabated, with patients continuing to wait far too long for treatment," he said.
The chief executive of the Disability Federation of Ireland, John Dolan, welcomed the extra €20m for disability services.
However, he said the money "doesn't even start to plug the gaping hole" that has been left by successive cuts since 2008.
Fianna Fail Health spokesperson Billy Kelleher said the new plan will do nothing to eliminate lengthy hospital waiting lists. He said the new funding allocations are merely aimed at maintaining services as they are and could in fact "lead to greater inefficiencies in the system".