29/04/2010

Health Cuts Threatened Over Industrial Action

The Irish Health Minister Mary Harney has announced the Health Service Executive (HSE) may have to make "drastic" cuts to patient services if ongoing industrial action in the health service does not cease.

Last night crucial talks between the HSE and IMPACT trade union broke down after 13 hours of stalemate.

Talks between the sides, chaired by the Labour Relations Commission's Director of Conciliation Kevin Foley, broke down without a date set for their resumption.

The ongoing action is said to have paralysed HSE administration for the past three months.

IMPACT said it was seeking assurances on the Croke Park deal on public sector pay and reform and insists it won't lift the industrial action until it gets clarification on job security.

The HSE is now concerned that its spending could be out of control as there is no way of collating it's day to day budgetary data during the strike action.

Mary Harney warned the situation may lead to huge cuts in services because it has no idea how its budget is being spent.

Minister Harney said today that the information that the HSE needs to know at board and senior administative level "is not forthcoming".

"We may well arrive at a situation in the late summer and early autumn of this year when monies have been expended that we hadn't anticipated, and therefore we'll have to make pretty drastic reductions in the services to our patients."

(DW/BMcC)

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