Patients will bear the brunt of HSE incompetence after the health service announced a recruitment freeze on frontline staff in order to balance its books, Fine Gael Cork South Central Senator Jerry Buttimer said today (Wednesday).

“This is the worst by far of all the Fianna Fáil Government’s broken promises since the election. It shows just how little the Government actually cares about the people who voted it back into power. The Fianna Fáil Government has executed a con-job of massive proportions on patients.

“It is astonishing that the HSE has gone so far into the red in only the third quarter of the financial year, yet the health service and the Government are showing almost no accountability. This demonstrates a level of incompetence beyond even the most pessimistic predictions. Patients are being hit by a double whammy of cutbacks, with a freeze on new posts being filled as well as existing vacancies.

“Patients have been placed directly in the firing line of these cutbacks, which have arisen due to a combination of Government inaction and HSE incompetence. It is essential that Health Minister Mary Harney tries to limit the damage to patients by ensuring that essential primary care services can continue to be delivered, including surgery and treatment for cancer.

“Paediatric and diabetes services in Cork are already under-resourced and this latest crisis threatens to damage them even further. It is a tragedy that patients will bear the brunt of this level of incompetence from both the Government and the HSE.”