Thursday, 26 June 2014
I cannot recall a time in the past 25 years when it was not necessary to introduce a Supplementary Estimate for the Department of Health. The Deputy sitting beside Deputy Mary Lou McDonald has been a Member of the House for some time and possesses wide-ranging knowledge of the health area. I am sure he will concur with what I am saying in this regard. As a result of the fact that the health service is demand-driven and because, unlike the position on the number of pupils who are going to attend school in any one year, that demand cannot be predicted in advance, it is simply impossible to achieve a balanced budget. What is at issue is the scale of the demand and what is required to meet it. In the first instance, that will be a matter for discussion by the Ministers for Health and Public Expenditure and Reform. I am sure that if the Deputy tables parliamentary questions to these Ministers when they have concluded their discussions, they will be able to inform her of the detail involved.