Sunday 20 October 2019

€40m sick joke

• I nearly choked on my cornflakes on Saturday morning, reading Eilish O'Regan's report that "Health will cough up €40m to the Exchequer" this year, despite the cuts in service being wrought on us all. The article quoted James Reilly saying that around €90m would be unspent, of which €40m would have to be returned.

This is the same minister who says he is between a rock and a hard place when it comes to investing 50/50 in the Jack and Jill home nursing care model, which has supported nearly 1,500 severely disabled children over the past 14 years by raising €35m privately, while receiving only €4.5m from the HSE.

Mr Reilly and the HSE talk the talk by stressing that they are fully committed to enhancing community-based care for clients across the health service. But talk is cheap and there is still no national budget for paediatric home nursing care. And the minister proposes handing back €40m! Why must things get to a crisis stage before we invest and do the right thing for our children with severe disabilities? My question to Dr Reilly is simple: why not direct this €40m refund into a national budget for paediatric home nursing care?

Alternatively, this amount would keep Jack and Jill children safe, warm and cosy in their own homes until 2026.

Jonathan Irwin
CEO, Jack and Jill

Irish Independent

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