Tuesday 17 October 2017

Health left 'f***ed' due to budgets - Varadkar

Leo Varadkar. Photo: Caroline Quinn
Leo Varadkar. Photo: Caroline Quinn
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

The Department of Health has been left "f***ed" as a result of consecutive budget shortfalls, Leo Varadkar has said.

The Acting Health Minister made the remark during a "frank" and "honest" discussion on the health service with Independent TDs.

His use of the expletive drew a gasp from his Fine Gael colleague Frances Fitzgerald.

After being criticised over his alleged lack of interest in the talks earlier in the week, sources involved in the talks said Mr Varadkar displayed an impressive grasp of the challenges facing the health service. But some independents said they felt there needed to be more focus on certain areas, such as ambulance response times.

In a lengthy health document circulated this week, Mr Varadkar states that the funding of 80 additional primary care centres has been secured.

There is a pledge to extend free GP care to under 18s and to introduce a dental health package for the under sixes.

Mr Varadkar also pledges to introduce a series of measures aimed at reducing emergency department overcrowding.

And he says waiting times in Emergency Departments will be reduced to six hours if he is re-appointed.

Irish Independent

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