Sunday 8 December 2019

HSE over-spent by €120m in just three months, reveals Minister for Health

HSE over-spent by €120m in just three months
HSE over-spent by €120m in just three months

Kevin Doyle Group Political Editor

The HSE spent €120m more than budgeted in the first three months of the year, Health Minister Simon Harris has revealed.

The new minister indicated that he will require extra funding but insisted that there will be no cuts to services.

New spending estimates are due to be brought before the Dáil in the next fortnight and Taoiseach Enda Kenny has indicated that there will be some changes from what was forecast during last October’s budget.

“I don’t have any intention to cut back on services this year,” Mr Harris said.

He denied that the overspend for the year was on target for €500m, saying there were “some factors” that affected the first three months of 2016.

“It is fair to say that the HSE is running over-budget. I don’t think that will come as a surprise to anybody. The new Government has made it very clear that there are a number of areas we want to priorities.

“We got a very loud and clear message from the Irish electorate on that,” the minister said.

Asked if it was a case of bad money management or wilful overspending by the HSE, Mr Harris replied: “The HSE since its creation has faced budgetary challenges. And the worrying thing is that those budgetary challenges seem apparent regardless on occasion of the level of funding.”

He added: “We have to do what we never managed to do during Celtic Tiger Ireland which is make sure there is an accountability in terms of how that money is spent.”

The minister wants to set up a new Performance Management Unit to monitor spending outcomes in hospitals.

“There is a sense when you talk to people in the Irish health service that bad practice is rewarded and good practice never gets recognised,” he said.

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