Health

Tuesday 16 September 2014

HSE has run €350m over its budget for 2013

Health Minister James Reilly signed off on organ donation laws
Health Minister James Reilly

SPENDING in various areas of the health service ran over budget by a total of €350m this year.

But a bailout of just under €200m will be given to the HSE to cover the overrun, with another €150m being made up in savings elsewhere.

The largest overrun, totalling €104m, occurred in the primary care and community schemes area, with another €67m overrun in hospitals.

Compensation payments through the State Claims Agency went €37m over budget and four HSE regions -- Dublin Mid-Leinster, Dublin North East, South and West -- each ran over budget by €11m.

The €350m gap is being made up by savings of €82m from pension lump sums, €50m from the capital budget and €20m from the Department of Health's own internal budget.

A supplementary estimate of €219m was signed off on by the Department of Public Expenditure yesterday, with the other €20m yet to be included.

"The actual net estimate is €199m, as €20m has been saved out of the department's own budget and transferred to the HSE," a spokesman said last night.

The €20m is coming from savings in administration, payments to agencies and timing issues around compensation payments.

Health Minister James Reilly had always insisted that the additional funding for 2013 would be between €150m and €200m. However, there was speculation it could creep above this mark.

The funding will be included in a specific piece of legislation to be published by Public Spending Minister Brendan Howlin.

The Appropriations Bill 2013 will also contain additional funding for the Department of Justice for abuse compensation, and for the Department of Transport for additional funding for roads.

The Oireachtas health committee will discuss the overrun with Dr Reilly at its meeting tomorrow. The Dail will vote on the estimate next week.

ENDANGER

The EU has warned that the continual overruns and the failure to deliver on key pledges could "endanger" next year's health budget.

The European Commission's team of inspectors warned in its final bailout review that one-third of the savings promised by Dr Reilly this year would not be achieved and that the slow progress could lead to serious problems next year.

The commission also criticised the absence of any progress on legal service reforms to cut costs for consumers, as well as the potential for the courts to be overwhelmed by a "wave" of up to 21,500 repossession cases next year.

Irish Independent

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