€17.75bn Budget ‘short on ambition’ needed to combat health crisis: Waterford TD
Waterford TD David Cullinane has criticised the record €17.75 billion Budget 2021 for lacking “ambition and urgency”
Deputy Cullinane, who is Sinn Féin health spokesperson, said the Budget did not go far enough to tackle the crises facing healthcare services.
The Waterford TD said: “Budget 2021 falls far short on health and is lacking ambition and urgency. We are experiencing a public health emergency like no other, and a crisis in our acute hospitals. This required a response never seen before but unfortunately this budget falls far short.
“When you get into the detail and under the bonnet of the headline figures, we can see that it is far less than what is being presented. The government will add just 66 ICU beds next year. This falls far short of where we need to be, which is why Sinn Féin set out a plan to deliver 100 next year and 50 each year after.”
Deputy Cullinane accused the Government of “using smoke and mirrors to pretend they are doing more on acute bed capacity than they actually are”.
He added: “In truth, there will only be 107 additional permanent acute beds in the system by the end of next year, not 1100.
“They have repackaged the Winter Plan and, in the process, exposed that it is full to the gills with temporary beds instead of expanded permanent capacity.”
The Waterford TD said Budget 2021 also “falls short” on mental health, adding his party would have provided for 30% more funding in this area.
Deputy Cullinane added: “We welcome the additional funding for national strategies, but we need more detail on the breakdown – it is very unclear what is being funded by how much.
“The investment in community-based care is also very welcome. It’s a pity that it took a pandemic for it to happen, but it is important that we continue to reform our health service away from reliance on acute hospitals to deliver care.”