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Department of Health to get bailout as HSE deficit heads towards €400m

THE Department of Health is to receive an emergency bailout as the Government scrambles to tackle overspending by minister Dr James Reilly.

Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin has confirmed he will meet with Dr Reilly this evening.

It comes as the HSE heads towards a deficit of €400m by the end of the year - there are no details yet as to how big the bailout will be.

But Mr Howlin said it will be “a tiny, tiny, tiny fraction” of the annual €13.5bn budget for health.

The supplementary budget will be separate to any new measures announced in December.

“I can confirm it is likely there will be a supplementary budget for health,” Mr Howlin told the Dail this afternoon. “I’m actually having a bilateral meeting with the Minister for Health after this session.”

He also said the Government wanted to budget more accurately for health.

Fianna Fail’s Sean Fleming said there wasn’t overspending, but “underbudgeting” and said Dr Reilly’s annual estimates were flawed.

Sinn Fein’s Mary-Lou McDonald said it is "bizarre” an emergency budget will be brought in just days before the full Budget for 2013.