Health service bill - Clever cuts can be made

Health Minister Mary Harney has warned that the scale of the health cuts next year will be unprecedented. She told a conference on health funding that €1.2 billion needs to be cut from the existing €15bn in health spending.

Cuts are necessary, but so much waste has been exposed in the health service, that these cuts can be made without curtailing with frontline services. Illness can’t be postponed and the postponement of treatment inevitably leads to complications.

In other EU countries drugs are sold at a fraction of the price they cost in this country. This is an area in which significant cuts could be achieved with some initiative. The need for savings was obvious last year and again this year, but it seems that nothing is going to be done until next year.

The Irish Nurses’ Organisation warns that the proposed cuts will lead to a 15% downsizing of the health service. Despite the indications that services are likely to be curtailed, holders of private health insurance are being warned that the cost of their premiums are going to increase by 12%.

People are being asked to pay more for less, which is a prescription for social and economic madness.


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