September 21, 2020
Business News Property

Wicklow’s Minister facing up to reality of crisis in our health system – report

New Minister for Health and Wicklow TD, Stephen Donnelly is facing into to a baptism of fire after a report claims the Health Service Executive (HSE) is in crisis and facing financial meltdown over the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

A report in today’s Irish Independent reveals it has seen a briefing prepared by officials in the Department of Health for Minister Stephen Donnelly which shows tough times ahead for the delivery or services, treatments, and major infrastructure projects for the HSE.

The Independent says the 209 page briefing: “show the stark nature of the challenges ahead,” and reveals the HSE may require emergency funding to get it through the current global crisis.

Areas such as cancer care, inpatient and day case services, and outpatient delivery have fallen well below pre-covid figures, while necessary capital projects are being delayed or being beset with over runs because of the global pandemic.

One of the highest profile capital projects affected by the current crisis is the second Cath lab for the South East region at University Hospital Waterford (UHW).

In taking its information from the secret briefing document, the Irish Independent article says: “Work on a second cath lab for UHW has been delayed.

“The project was due to go to tender in July with an October start date for the start of construction which could take up to a year,” the article states.

The HSE itself is could require an extra €1bn in funding, on top of €2bn already made available to tackle Covid-19 related health costs to cover this year, while a further €180 million will be needed to cover extra spiralling costs in regards the construction of National Children’s Hospital.

Other areas the article reveals will be hit hard in the HSE due to the Covid-19 crisis are cancer services, which it says are running at about 50%-80% below pre-Covid figures, depending on the cancer service.

Inpatient and day case waiting list are set to increase by 83% this year, while Outpatient waiting lists could increase by up to 40% by the end of the year.

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