Thursday, 28 November 2019
Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions
Simon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
We are investing €17 billion in the healthcare system next year, which is significantly more than was ever before allocated. We are prioritising how that is spent, depending on the pressures that emerge from week to week and month to month. We have committed additional funding of €26 million to the winter initiative, the purpose of which is to ensure that throughput in hospitals is as efficient as it can be through the pressure months of the winter. It is about providing step-down facilities, adding extra beds and staffing to the system and keeping people out of hospital as much as possible through the winter months where we are now starting to see pressure.
That goes for children as well as adults. We will continue to prioritise their healthcare with the resources available to do so. If the Deputy looks at the bigger picture, which some people in this House do not, although I accept this is because they want to solve problems, 27,000 patients who were in hospital last May had the opportunity to have their say on how they rated the health service in a national inpatient survey. Some 84% of those who took part rated their stay in hospital as either good or very good. There are good things happening in healthcare in Ireland. We have incredibly dedicated staff who are looking after people well but real pressure points remain and we will prioritise our response accordingly.