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HSE to have ‘limited scope’ for new investment in 2015

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HSE to have ‘limited scope’ for new investment in 2015

HSE to have ‘limited scope’ for new investment in 2015
November 27
14:39 2014

Health body to maintain current service level with little room for ‘new developments’


The health budget for next year will allow the HSE to maintain current levels of services in 2015 but there will be very limited scope for investment in new developments.

The HSE’s service plan for next year says its funding allocation provides €25 million for the introduction of free GP care for children under 6 years and €12 million for GP care for people over the age of 70.

There is also additional money for mental health and disability services.

A €25 million plan is being put in place to tackle delayed discharges for acute hospitals – a move which aims to ease the problem of patients waiting on trolleys and growing waiting lists.

The Government’s health funding for next year also provides for the extension of the Breastcheck programme to woman up to 69 years.

A sum of €30 million is to be earmarked for new drug therapies for people with hepatitis C.

However, the service plan says that “outside of the specific funding provided however, it will not be possible to put in place any additional new service developments which would increase overall health expenditure”.

The new €25 million fund to deal with delayed discharges in hospitals is a main feature of the service plan.

Fair Deal

As part of this initiative, €10 million will be used to support an additional 300 long stay care places under the “Fair Deal” nursing homes support scheme.

This is intended to reduce the waiting time for funding to 11 weeks in January 2015.

A further €8 million is being provided to increase access to short stay beds across the Dublin area. The plan says this will allow for transitional and rehabilitation services across a total of 115 additional beds, targeting over 540 discharges from acute hospitals in 2015.

It says this provision will include 65 beds that will come on stream in 2015 when the former Mount Carmel private hospital, which was bought by the HSE last year, is commissioned as s a dedicated community hospital for Dublin.

The plan says €5 million of the funding will provide 400 additional home care packages which will benefit 600 people throughout 2015.

A sume of €2 million is being allocated to expand the community intervention team services in primary care across Dublin, allowing for full coverage of this service across the city. It says that additional teams will deal with 2,000 referrals.

Priority posts

The service plan provides €23 million to cover the full year cost of priority posts in the mental health area announced in 2013 and 2014.

“In addition there is a further additional €35 million held by the Department of Healthfor priority new developments in 2015. This €35 million in funding will be made available to the HSE once these developments are agreed early in 2015 and the costs related to these come on stream, bringing to €125 million the amount of funding prioritised for mental health since 2012.”

The service plan says the Government has provided an increase of €625 million or 5.4 per cent in funding to the HSE for 2015, bringing the total net revenue budget to €12.1 billion.

However it warns that when the projected €510 million deficit for this year is taken into account, this allows for health service net costs to increase by €115m in 2015.

However as part of the budget for next year the Department of Health has set a minimum target of €130 million to be generated in savings along with an increased income collection target of €10m.

The plan says this €140m in savings and extra revenue “when secured will be used to support specific targeted service priority improvements”.

“It has not been possible to secure funding for the full amount of the HSE’s 2015 Estimates requests, and there are some additional service pressures which will fall to be addressed in future years. Some service pressures arising from increased demand will have to be addressed in 2015 through additional cost savings and revenue measures.”

“ This will be in addition to the €140 million in savings and extra revenue referenced above. Assuming delivery of the minimum savings target outlined above, it is estimated that the residual financial challenge is €100 million and mitigating measures.”


Martin Wall

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