Patients face new cuts to tackle HSE deficit
Shortfall of nearly €50 million predicted in savings on Haddington Road agreement
The HSE revealed that it was facing an overrun of between €65 million and €100 million in the medical card and other community and drug schemes, as well as a deficit of up to €104 million in “direct services” it provides, such as hospital care.
Patients are facing further cutbacks in health services, potentially far more extensive than acknowledged publicly by the Government so far, as part of efforts to rein in overspending by the Health Service Executive.
The HSE revealed yesterday that it was facing an overrun of between €65 million and €100 million in the medical card and other community and drug schemes, as well as a deficit of up to €104 million in “direct services” it provides, such as hospital care.
It also acknowledged that €60 million in its original budget for the year which was to be generated from additional revenue from health insurers will not now materialise because the Government is not to implement the necessary legislation until next January.
Delays on the part of the Government in putting in place planned fee cuts for healthcare professionals such as GPs and pharmacists at an earlier date also cost it €18 million.
Separately, highly-placed sources yesterday maintained that the Department of Health had signalled privately to the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform that the health service would generate a maximum of €104 million in savings under the Haddington Road agreement on public service pay, rather than the €150 million which had been anticipated.
The HSE budget for the year was based on the full €150 million savings target under Haddington Road being achieved.
The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform said it still expected the health service to deliver the specified level of savings.
The HSE said it was in discussions with the Department of Health on a short list of contingency measures for dealing with the potential overrun in the community and medical card schemes.
The Department of Health said that as the proposed contingency measures remained under consideration, “it would not be appropriate to release details at this time”.
The HSE said last night it expected to breakeven on its directs services “through savings in other areas”.