Reilly says health savings will have to come from pay, not services

Minister’s comments come in wake of Croke Park II rejection

Minister for Health James Reilly: “I’m not prepared to cut the service anymore. People need their service and I believe that they have a right to expect a certain level of service — so the cost of the service is what has to be addressed.  Photograph: Alan Betson

Minister for Health James Reilly: “I’m not prepared to cut the service anymore. People need their service and I believe that they have a right to expect a certain level of service — so the cost of the service is what has to be addressed. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

Pay cuts for workers in the health service will be necessary to allow the Department of Health to remain within budget for 2013, following the rejection of the second Croke Park deal, Minister for Health James Reilly has indicated.

Speaking in Cork, where he was attending a conference on exercise and movement at University College Cork’s Mardyke Arena, Mr Reilly said the troika were very clear that certain savings had to be made by the Government in relation to public pay.

“The Government’s position always was that the budget line doesn’t change and my budget line in health doesn’t change,” said Mr Reilly.

“ I have to produce those savings for the troika. It’s as simple as that. I’ve given that commitment. I know that those savings must come from the cost of the service.

“I’m not prepared to cut the service anymore. People need their service and I believe that they have a right to expect a certain level of service — so the cost of the service is what has to be addressed.

“In the absence of Croke Park, clearly there is going to be legislation from the government.”

The Minister said he thought that everyone wanted to stand back and reflect for a week or so to allow the implications of what had happened to sink in.

“I’m very happy to allow for a time of reflection, but I’m equally quite certain that if legislation is what is necessary it has to be done, because every month that goes by is another month lost and means that the cuts to the pay will have to be more severe in order to realise the same amount of money.”

“I mean, it stands up, doesn’t it” If you want to save €150 million over eight months the impact is less per month than if you have to do it over six months.”