Taoiseach Enda Kenny defends massive HSE budget overrun
TAOISEACH Enda Kenny has defended the €374m budget overrun in the health service by saying that reforming the "completely dysfunctional" system would take time.
He was quizzed in the Dail about the threat to frontline patient services, as the HSE tries to reduce its massive deficit by the end of the year.
Mr Kenny said the HSE was a completely dysfunctional organisation which had been formed in 2004 by squashing the former health boards together.
He said that no-one had ever said it could be sorted out in 12 months.
"What's happening now is the start of a generational reform in the health service in this country," he said.
Mr Kenny was speaking after the HSE confirmed that its budget overrun at the end of last month stood at €374m.
At the end of August the figure was €329m.
And Tallaght Hospital in Dublin is seeking an overdraft of €12m.
Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin said the failure to achieve savings in the health budget had already led to further cutbacks such as one million hours of home help being "severed".
"Are we facing similar cuts to acute hospitals? What are the implications of these overruns in terms of patient services?" he asked.
But Mr Kenny maintained that patients would still get effective treatment in hospitals, who were treating more people with fewer resources.
"When this is completed, you will have a health service that will deliver in terms of the people's money being channelled for real effective health services for all our people," he said.