Health minister James Reilly has given the HSE a stark warning about budget overruns at hospitals.
"There will be no more money for them. That's an absolute certainty," the minister said today, after reports that the HSE is already running a deficit of €184 for the first four months of the year. Hospitals account for €100m of this deficit.
The minister was speaking at the opening of the new four-bed ICU unit at Our Lady's Children's Hospital in Crumlin, which itself is facing a shortfall of €5m this year.
He said difficult decisions will have to be made by hospitals in order to keep within the budgets agreed at the beginning of the year. "The days of crying help at the end of the year, and putting their hands out, are over," he said, adding "we simply don't have the money."
He said he had written to the chief executive of the HSE, Cathal Magee, last week warning that he would not countenance any budget overruns. "All services signed up to a budget and a service level agreement, which they must adhere to," the minister said.
Reilly also said that he expected to receive the report on the location of the new national paediatric hospital over the coming days.