Taoiseach dismisses leak about health cuts
Taoiseach Enda Kenny today insisted that no decisions have been made yet on any Budget details despite a leaked submission by the Department of Health warning of bed closures because of spending cuts.
Mr Kenny would not be drawn on the submission revelations and said all Government departments were fully entitled to respond to the Department of Public Expenditure in relation to budgets.
The leaked confidential submission by the Department of Health warns that almost 300 hospital beds would have to close and 2,400 fewer high tech operations be carried out next year if the Government makes further spending cuts.
Opening hours would have to be cut in five hospital emergency departments and major teaching hospitals in Dublin would have to have 20 bed closures each, it adds.
The document says "draconian" measures would be required to deliver the level of spending cuts being suggested and patient safety would be seriously compromised as a result.
Instead, the document suggests the health budget needs an increase of €500m to address underlying deficits and an extra €200m for each of the next three years to meet the demands of an ageing population.