Leo Varadkar has claimed that even if he had an extra €100 million, he would not be able to fix the hospital crisis over-night. Meanwhile Transport Minister O’ Donoghue has gone further and even suggested that government intervention has helped reduce the crisis.
In a statement Gino Kenny from People Before Profit said,
‘This government cut one million hours from home help care packages since they were in office. In 2010, there were 11.7 million home help hours available but by 2014 this had dropped to an estimated 10.4 million hours.
‘ These foolish cuts mean that elderly patients are more likely to stay in hospitals because they have no guarantee of after-care treatment otherwise. A cheque for an extra €100 million would help reverse these cuts.
‘ In February of this year, Varadkar stated that ‘I acknowledge that a higher level of respite is required across the greater Dublin area’. He stated that an extra €8 million that was allocated for 2015 would provide an extra 115 transition care beds. But if this puny sum was trebled, there would have been an extra 445 extra beds that could help alleviate the hospital crisis.
‘Varadkar’s penny pinching has also led to a recruitment crisis among nurses. He should guarantee to pay student nurses who undertake their 36 week hospital work experience the minimum wage; he should recognise this work period for incremental pay; he should reverse the cuts to the entrants pay scale.
If he took any of these measures he might help stop the flight of young Irish nurses to Britain and Australia.
‘It is time to end the dogma that the public sector does not need extra money and start taxing the super-rich to pay for our public services’.