Reilly: €108m savings in health just not possible

The Health Minister says €108m in health department savings earmarked in the budget are not deliverable.

James Reilly's comments come in response to a question about the unallocated savings target imposed on the health budget by the Departments of the Taoiseach and Public Expenditure and Reform.

Speaking to Radio Kerry this afternoon, the Health Minister said several reports back up his position that the extra €108m in savings are not possible.

The amount was earmarked for the HSE's plans, but it was never specified where it would be cut from.

"What's achievable under Haddington Road is €212m, plus or minus 20% - and at a stretch we might get to €290m. It'll be a real challenge," Reilly said.

"The other €108m? I believe this exercise has shown [it] is not available to us in the manner in which it might have been originally perceived."

During the same interview, Reilly accused the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation of "scaremongering" over claims of €80m of funding cuts.

He said changes to nurses' roles in relation to healthcare assistants had been agreed under Haddington Road.

"I'm surprised that they would make this sort of an allegation.

"I'm very concerned about the amount of cuts that health has had to take. But I don't believe in scaremongering.

"And I don't want somebody to think that just because I no longer see the patient who comes into my surgery as a GP, but they're seen by the nurse - who's perfectly able to tell the mother whether this child with the runny nose and a sore throat and a temperature needs to see the doctor or not - that they're not getting a good service."

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