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Wednesday 21 August 2019

Health chief is eager to stem €7m overspend every week

‘Budget mismanagement’: HSE chairman Ciarán Devane
‘Budget mismanagement’: HSE chairman Ciarán Devane
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

The HSE must become financially stable as it bids to tackle a €7m weekly overspend, the Oireachtas health committee will be told today.

Ciarán Devane, the new chairman of the HSE board, is set to emphasise the need for the HSE to put financial controls in place while targeting "scarce resources in the best manner".

The Dublin-born UK charity chief, who is making his first appearance before the committee, will be quizzed on the HSE's rising deficit by Fianna Fáil spokesman on health Stephen Donnelly.

The TD said he is shocked at the level of HSE weekly overrun. "Time after time we hear that the issues in our health service are not down to a lack of funds. If that's the case, then the problems must be down to a mismanagement of the budget," he said.

Mr Devane, whose full-time job is chief executive of the British Council, is due to pledge his support for Sláintecare, the cross-party plan for the overhaul of the health service.

He is to say there is a need to "exploit the momentum for change" and grasp the once-in- a-generation chance it offers for change.

"It is one of those documents that as you turn the pages you get more and more excited andit improves.

"I know I am not alone on the board in saying that having that plan and the cross-party support for it was a large part of why I went for the role."

He believes he is in a good position to lead the HSE in its "transformational journey" while holding the HSE to account.

The Irish speaker was previously chief of Macmillan Cancer Support where he helped to "reshape cancer services in the UK".

He believes the rise in life expectancy in Ireland since 1990 by seven years is an astonishing achievement.

"In an average year, the life expectancy of our population typically goes up three months.

"In a typical day it goes up six hours. And this is again on average every day of the year since 1990."

Irish Independent

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