Thursday 27 October 2016

HSE seeks an additional €2bn for services next year

HSE Director General Tony O'Brien
HSE Director General Tony O'Brien

THE HSE is seeking almost €2bn in extra funding next year.

Health chiefs have made a submission to the government ahead of the Budget looking for the additional cash.

They have argued that the funding is needed to meet a costs overrun this year, match the same level of services next year, and bring a range of hospital and elderly care services up to standard.

The HSE wants to take on an additional 5,000 staff over the coming year and also has to meet the cost of reversing the pay cuts imposed during the financial crisis.

The aggressive demands are contained in the confidential HSE Budgeting and Service Planning 2016 Estimates Submission.

However, the demands, if met, would use up all of the Government's leeway in the Budget. The chance of the HSE getting all the funding is non-existent, but the move will add to the pressure on the Government to match expectations in October's Budget.

The estimates show there will be an overrun of €497m this year in the HSE budget - up from the previous estimate of €418m.

On top of that, there's another €125m the Government will have to provide for historic items. Just to provide the same services in 2016 will cost another €650m. Demographic pressures will add another €160m to the bill next year.

The cost of standing still without any additional policy changes is €1.45bn.

The HSE also says it also needs another €420m for new improvements to the health service, bringing the overall sum sought to €1.9bn.


HSE Director General Tony O'Brien outlined the costs three weeks ago in a submission to the Department of Health, which was also circulated to all Hospital Groups and Community Healthcare Organisations.

"If we simply stand still we will not be in a position to address the needs of our population as it grows and ages in the years ahead," Mr O'Brien explained.

The HSE estimates contain funding for reforms within the system.

Mr O'Brien said the investment was particularly important as the HSE needed to make very substantial improvements while continuing to deliver day-to-day services.

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