Health service facing '€150m hole'
HSE director designate Tony O'Brien: said his budget was drawn up in the expectation of making half-year savings of EUR150 million from the Croke Park II deal
The health service will be left with a €150 million hole in its budget if the Croke Park II agreement is not approved by public sector unions, the Oirechtas health committee has been told.
HSE director designate Tony O'Brien said his budget was drawn up in the expectation of making half-year savings of €150 million from the agreement, though this money had not been allocated to any one sector.
If agreement was not reached, the HSE would face a €150 million "challenge", he said.
Mr O'Brien said he expected the Government to announce the formation of hospital groups in the coming weeks, but although this reform could bring significant potential benefits these were not expected to accrue this year.
He told the committee that 307 out of 414 mental health posts had now been filled, while changes to eligibility for medical card holders would affect all age groups.
With the HSE expecting to make savings of €721 million this year, any deviations from this plan would be identified early, he said.
Independent Senator John Crown criticised the "appalling" state of rehabilitation services. Ireland had 60 per cent of the number of consultants employed in the sector in the UK, and it had just 10 per cent of the number employed in France, he said.
As a result, patients with life-devastating injuries were spending six months waiting for neuro rehab and blocking a bed that could be used for other services.