Health cuts may be up to €1bn
on 21/10/2013 08:00:18
Savings targets at the Department of Health could actually be adjusted to reach a figure of €1 billion.
Official figures given in last week's budget show savings in health must reach €666m, but senior sources have said in recent days the real target could be a billion.
On the chopping board potentially are several contentious issues including the upgrade of maternity services in the wake of the Savita Halappanavar case and the reduction of working hours for non-consultant hospital doctors or junior doctors.
The union representing Irish Nurses and Midwives said the cuts, on top of those implemented in recent years, will compromise patient care.
The INMO is calling on the Government to explain why it ignored revenue raising public health measures, including a tax on sugary drinks.
In a statement issued this morning, the INMO said: "The inevitable outcome of these two contradictory strategies will be a wholly inadequate, and underfunded, health service unable to cope with the demands of a population.
"Meanwhile, the Government refuses to raise revenue from proactive public health initiatives."