Monday 19 February 2018

Health service 'will have to live within budget in 2016' - HSE plan

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Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

THE health service will have to live within budget in 2016 with no end-of-year top-ups, leaving hospitals in particular stretched to the bone, it emerged today.

Health Minister Leo Varakdar and HSE chief Tony O’Brien spelled out the tight financial position at the launch of the HSE’s service plan for 2016 which sets out how its €13bn funding is carved up.

It already has a €100m shortfall and because of new rules cannot be financially rescued any more with a supplementary budget if it over spends.

However, Health Minister Leo Varadkar said there will still be scope for improvements and developments in some areas including:

  • Therapy services for young people, especially in the speech and language area
  • Further development of mental health service    
  • GP care without fees for 6-11 year olds
  • Additional senior nurses in maternity untis.
  • New vaccines for Men B and Rotavirus, subject to negotiations

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar and the Minister of State for Mental Health, Primary Care and Social Care (Disabilities and Older People) Kathleen Lynch have welcomed the publication of the 2016 HSE National Service Plan.

“This is the second year in which additional Exchequer funding has been made available to support health and social care services and represents a significant proportion of the increase in public expenditure available nationally in 2016”, Minister Varadkar said.

He said :”“Extra funding of €7.2 million is provided for the National Ambulance Service to ensure that response times are maintained, including €2 million to recruit and train extra staff and expand the Community First Responder Scheme.

“The plan also includes €3 million for new maternity service initiatives being phased in next year, or more than €9 million in a full year.

“Additional funding of €2.5 million has been provided for the addition of Rotavirus and Meningococcal B immunisation to the Primary Childhood Immunisation Programme.

"The HSE proposes introducing these vaccines in 2016, subject to the successful conclusion of negotiations on price with the manufacturers.”

Minister of State Kathleen Lynch said it includes €35 million earmarked for the further development of mental health.

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