South Tipperary TD Seamus Healy has called for an emergency meeting of the Oireachtas Health Committee to stop what he desribes as the “barbaric health cuts”.
He has called on Chairman Jerry Buttimer to convene an immediate emergency meeting of the Committee in order to discuss the health cuts announced by the HSE at the behest of the Government.
“I will be proposing that these cuts be rescinded at the meeting. Minister Reilly and the chief executive of the HSE must appear before the meeting and must answer questions”.
Deputy Healy said - Of the eight cost-cutting proposals in the HSE plan outlined, at least three will affect older people or the disabled exclusively. Services for both groups are likely to be seriously affected by a 600,000-hour cut in home help hours, as well as a reduction of 200 home care packages and a €10 million reduction in hours for personal assistants for people who need high levels of support trying to live independently.
“Services and supports for these patients have already been severely cut. In addition cholesterol reducing drugs, among others, are to be removed from the medical card scheme. This removal will increase the risk of strokes and heart attacks thus shortening the lives of those who can’t afford to pay. This is in truth a descent into barbarism.
“Labour must stop the savage attack on the old, the sick, the disabled.
“The statement by the Labour Party chairman, Colm Keaveney , that he is uncomfortable with the cuts is a mere washing of hands. The truth is that the Labour Party in government is imposing these cuts and can stop them. There are two Labour Party junior Ministers, Kathleen Lynch and Roisín Shortall in Dr Reilly’s Department of Health.
I call on Eamonn Gilmore to veto these cuts immediately”.