HSE chief raises prospect of further cutbacks in health service

O’Brien tells Oireachtas committee it will not be possible to meet fully all demands

HSE chief executive Tony O’Brien said it would not be possible to meet fully all of the growing demands being placed on the health service. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

HSE chief executive Tony O’Brien said it would not be possible to meet fully all of the growing demands being placed on the health service. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Tue, Jan 14, 2014, 18:40

HSE chief executive Tony O’Brien held out the prospect of further health cutbacks this year given the financial challenge facing the service.

Mr O’Brien said this evening it will not be possible to meet fully all of the growing demands being placed on the health service this year.

Addressing the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Health, he said that “some service priorities and demographic pressures may not be met”.

Mr O’Brien said the HSE was facing a “very significant” financial challenge in 2014.

He said the principal focus of the HSE this year was “to continue to deliver the same level of frontline services with a reduced budget, particularly in areas such as provision of home help hours, home care packages and disability services while at the same time ensuring that quality and safety is not compromised in any way”.