Buttimer demands to know how HSE cutbacks will affect Cork patients

Speaking at the HSE South Regional Health Forum, Cork City Fine Gael Senator Jerry Buttimer has called on the HSE to outline where it intends to make savings and what services will be curtailed by those cutbacks.

“These cutbacks will hit the vulnerable and the weak. The health service is in crisis with frontline staff and patients being the victims. These cutbacks will inevitably result in longer waiting lists for A&E, outpatients, and non-elective surgery.

“Slashing spending might be an attempt to balance the budget, but it is inexcusable when HSE Chief Executive Professor Drumm and other management are receiving massive bonuses. There is no way that this can be justified.

“It is time for the HSE to demonstrate that patient care, hygiene standards and access to services will not be compromised. I know of staff who took a leave of absence for education and other purposes, but who have been told to stay on leave rather than return to their posts, even though they are due back to work.

“I believe there should be an independent audit of how the HSE is operated, and of how it does its business. Management numbers have actually increased by two and a half times under the new HSE, when the whole point of the new executive was supposed to be an improvement in patient care.

“I am proposing that the HSE’s management structures should be flattened to ensure better delivery of services. There should be fewer levels of management and a greater emphasis on delivering frontline services. Someone in the HSE has to admit that mistakes have been made, and are still being made. We cannot expect patients to pay the price of poor management.

“It is not at all clear how the HSE has improved services to patients’ since it was set up. This must change.”