Appallingly, even with a chronic shortage of ICU capacity, only 41 additional beds have been delivered since the start of the pandemic, despite the HSE spending over €3.84 billion on Covid-19 related measures, according to PQ replies obtained by Deputy Mc Grath.
Speaking today (Wednesday 15th September), at the beginning of the new Dáil term, the leader of the Rural Independent Group, Deputy Mattie Mc Grath stated:
“In recent weeks, the failure of government to address the major crises across Ireland’s public healthcare system has been laid bare, through record waiting lists, resignations and a complete lack of any meaningful short, medium or longer-term solutions.”
“These failings have been encapsulated in the latest figures released by the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF), which shows over 907,600 people on some form of NTPF waiting list to be treated or assessed by a Consultant. This represents an increase of 66,167 people (8%) since this time last year and an increase of almost 124,000 (16%) since August 2019.”
“Today as the Dáil resumes, my colleagues and I in the Rural Independent group, are calling on the Minister for Health to respond immediately by releasing the long-awaited multi-annual waiting list reduction plan and providing realistic targets and timescales for the reduction of Ireland’s chronic waiting lists.”
“It is completely unacceptable that Irish patients must tolerate a less than adequate level of care in comparison to other EU citizens when it comes to access to healthcare.”
“Furthermore, we are calling on the Minister for Health to clarify, how despite over €3.84 billion spent by the HSE on Covid-19 measures to date, that a mere additional 41 ICU beds have been provided. Ireland’s drastic lack of ICU bed capacity is a very urgent concern and must be addressed immediately.”
“Moreover, the Minister for Health must also clarify to the Dáil, how the HSE could be allowed to spend around €1 million of taxpayer’s money per week, on external accountancy services to the biggest five firms in the country. These include lucrative contracts with firms – EY (Ernst Young), PWC (Price Waterhouse Coopers), Grant Thornton, Deloitte and KPMG.”
“We understand that the total paid last year (2020) to these five firms alone was €41m while another €16.4m was paid up to the end of March (2021). In total, that is a staggering total of €57.4m with millions more, having most likely, been paid over since March, which on a pro-rata basis would bring the total paid in the region of €1million a week, since the beginning of the pandemic.”
“How can the HSE be allowed to operate in this manner by the government?”. After all, the HSE employs large numbers of in-house expertise and is the largest public sector employer in the country.”
“Every Irish person deserves to have access to a functioning and fit-for-purpose healthcare system. Under this government’s watch, the healthcare crisis has escalated on many different fronts. Therefore, we are calling for the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly to come before the Dáil and answer these crucial and pressing questions,” concluded Deputy Mc Grath.