Cutbacks will not be tolerated - Senator

Labour’s Laois Senator John Whelan has hit out at media reports of proposed health cutbacks leaked from the department of health, which he says are “hypothetical”.

Labour’s Laois Senator John Whelan has hit out at media reports of proposed health cutbacks leaked from the department of health, which he says are “hypothetical”.

“This kind of speculation does lead to undue distress and raises needless concerns and alarm,” he said.

He is vowing to back his Labour party colleague, new Minister for Health Leo Varadkar, to oppose the planned 2015 health budget cut of €213 million.

“I share the view of Minister Varadkar that such cuts are neither possible nor acceptable in terms of patient safety or service delivery. We could not possible reasonably expect to cut the health budget further and maintain the same level of safe and satisfactory service,” he said.

Senator Whelan planned to make his views known at a Labour Party think-in in Wexford held yesterday, Monday September 15.

“It would be absurd and unsafe in the extreme to suggest that Portlaoise can see any reduction in bed numbers or any diminution or reduction in the operating hours of its A&E department,” he said.

He cited the area and population served by Portlaoise hospital, the prisons, railway and motorway as reasons against cuts.

“I want to assure the public, that along with my colleague Cllr Noel Tuohy, who has been robust in his defence of Portlaoise hospital and health services, any such cutbacks will not be tolerated,” he said.