Monday 19 February 2018

€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?

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