Kenny praises Tallaght hospital


TALLAGHT HOSPITAL was “transforming itself into what we want it to be”, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said in the Dáil, describing Government health policy as “generational reform”.

During a stormy Leaders’ Questions he rejected Opposition criticism of the health service and budget overruns heading for €500 million by the end of the year.

Mr Kenny said the €12 million overdraft secured by the south-west Dublin hospital was in line with regulations and a number of other hospitals with budget “variations” had availed of “similar opportunities”.

He also confirmed that a Dáil debate on the economy would take place in two weeks as he rejected Fianna Fáil demands for Minister for Health James Reilly to make a “full” presentation to the House about the financial crisis in the health service.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin accused Dr Reilly of introducing a budget last year that was “built on sand, that was dishonest and that was flawed, and has allowed the situation to get into the extreme it is now in with a deficit of €374 million at the end of September”.

Mr Kenny accused Mr Martin of “bleating” and his party colleague Seán Fleming of “histrionics” for storming out of Tuesday’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) meeting.

Mr Martin said across the country acute hospitals were in dire financial straits.

“Promises made on health savings have not been achieved. What is the Government hiding? What is the HSE hiding, and why is the department hiding very basic facts that people are seeking?”

Mr Kenny said hospitals were entitled under regulations to seek overdrafts and he praised the efforts of Tallaght Hospital which had achieved significant savings in 2012 despite a 5 per cent increase in patient numbers and a 9 per cent cut in funding.

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams called for a supplementary health budget and criticised Government strategy. “Your policy is all about privatisation.” He said to Mr Kenny that “if you can give billions to the banks, can you not provide a supplementary health budget?”