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Order of Business

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Senator Catherine Ardagh

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Order of Business
Snippet Contents:

Today I would like to raise the very worrying reports that the HSE may record a deficit of €200 million or €300 million for the first half of the year without any plan or intimation of a plan in place to reverse that. In 2017, the HSE recorded a net operating deficit of €140 million, yet last week, which was the anniversary of the Taoiseach, Deputy Leo Varadker's, first year in office he made a significant virtue of the fact that he is a master of balancing budgets. This does not seem to be the case.
This matter has a very serious consequences, especially for ordinary people who rely on home help and those in need of mental health services. There has been a reduction in home help hours and a serious crisis in mental health services, especially in the CAMHS sector. These services have been left to languish with little or no support. It is also shocking that the former secretary general, Tony O'Brien, warned the Minister privately that the deficit could reach €800 million for the year, something which was not acted on. This is horrendous. The budget deficit increases have been attributed to older people presenting to hospitals. In a general election manifesto in 2011, the Government ran on a platform of building primary care centres across the country. In Drimnagh in my constituency, we were promised a primary care centre yet to date no sod has been turned and planning is about to run out. What is the Minister's plan in regard to this matter? I call on him to come to the House so that we can ask him how he intends to reverse the deficit and what he intends to do about the roll-out of primary care centres nationally and, more specifically, in Drimnagh.