WHEN IS a funding increase not really an increase?
When it's given to Sligo General Hospital, it seems.
Although the hospital has got a budget boost of almost €5m for 2013, more than €4.8m in cost savings will still be required this year.
The amount to be given to the hospital for the year ahead is over €98.5m.
In its Regional Service Plan for 2013, the HSE said hospitals had received an increased budget but there were still "serious cost containment measures required".
This was because the increased budget was less than the costs of the hospitals last year.
Meanwhile, HSE West is also setting out hospital targets.
Among them are:
• No adult to wait more than eight months for an elective procedure
• No child to wait more than 20 weeks for an elective procedure
• By end of November, no person to wait longer than 52 weeks for an outpatient appointment
• 95% of all people attending A&E to be either discharged or admitted within six hours.
Meanwhile, community services have been hit with a double whammy.
Not only is there an overall decrease in the 2012 budget, "cost containment" is being sought in all services.
The budget for the Sligo/Leitrim primary, community and continuing care service has been cut by €3m to under €120m.
But almost €1.2m in savings is required.
HSE Regional Director of Operations John Hennessy said the goal was to maintain high quality service within the budget allocated.
He added that difficulties in recruiting key staff, such as non-consultant hospital doctors, presented "particular challenges."