herald

Wednesday 16 October 2019

'Pathetic €2 extra a week to heat your home is an insult'

Dubliner Dermot Bolton at his home in Santry – he was left disappointed with the Budget. Photo: Kyran O'Brien
Dubliner Dermot Bolton at his home in Santry – he was left disappointed with the Budget. Photo: Kyran O'Brien

Dublin man Dermot Bolton (83), who has been retired for 16 years, said the Budget was "insulting" for pensioners.

"It's absolutely pathetic. The home heating allowance was raised by €2 - what an insult," he told the Herald.

There will be no extra fiver for State pensioners - but they will receive the Christmas bonus.

Mr Bolton said the rhetoric from the governments he had seen had been nothing but "promises, promises, promises".

He had hoped that this Budget would tackle issues in health.

"The biggest issues are in the hospitals. I had to get a knee replacement but the waiting lists were too long. Through a lot of agony, we had to make an appointment with a private hospital and the care was fantastic," he said.

"I also had to get aftercare, which was €45 per 30-minute session. But we shouldn't all have to pay to fall back on the private service. In desperation, we had to find the money."

Pressure

Mr Bolton said raising the medical card income threshold for people over 70 would put even more pressure on tired GPs.

"I visited my own GP recently and she said: 'I'm overwhelmed, I can't say no to my patients.' It's just going to turn GP clinics into A&Es, overcrowded and patients waiting for hours," he said.

"The whole Budget is very insulting for pensioners. We were meant to get €5 a week, but we got nothing."

Mr Bolton said some of his friends have waited years for operations and appointments.

"I've known people who've passed away while waiting for appointments," he added.

He hopes that the Government will put aside more money to hire staff for hospitals, and his wife Nuala agrees.

"There should be a grant for doctors and nurses who graduate from college to keep them in the country," she said.

"The grant would entice them to stay here for at least another year and there would be a job waiting for them in the hospitals.

"Patients shouldn't have to wait months or years for an appointment."

Worst

The couple, who have been married for 59 years and live in Santry, both agreed that the health system now is the worst that it has been for a long time.

"They're spending so much on the children's hospital, but will they have the staff qualified to work in it?" said Mr Bolton.

"We need more doctors and nurses to cut these waiting lines and not force people to rely on the private hospitals."

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