Saturday 24 March 2018

HSE's €2bn extra budget bombshell

Fionnán Sheahan

The HSE is looking for almost €2bn more in funding next year, the Irish Independent can reveal.

Health service managers are seeking a whopping €1.9bn budget increase in 2016 to hire 5,000 staff, meet the overrun this year, match the same level of service next year, and bring a range of hospital and elderly care services up to standard.

The ambitious figures are contained in the confidential 'HSE Budgeting and Service Planning 2016 Estimates Submission', obtained by this newspaper.

But the demands would swallow up all of the Government's leeway in the Budget, if met.

The estimates show there will now be an overrun of €500m this year in the HSE budget and that just to provide the same services in 2016 will cost another €660m.

But care for the elderly population and improvements in facilities to bring them up to Hiqa standards are also in the mix.

In a letter to Government, HSE director-general Tony O'Brien warns: "Our frontline health services require significant additional investment to begin to repair the impact of six to seven years of austerity and to move towards acceptable levels of service."

He says there needs to be investment "over and above the cost of simply standing still".

The country's financial watchdog warned last week there is a problem with the management in some hospitals when it comes to ensuring certain budgetary targets are maintained.

Irish Independent

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