50 healthcare projects sought by HSE shelved due to lack of funding

Projects set out in draft service plan but not published in final version of document

Tony O’Brien, director general of the HSE, at the publication of the ‘HSE Service Plan for 2014’. Photograph: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

Tony O’Brien, director general of the HSE, at the publication of the ‘HSE Service Plan for 2014’. Photograph: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland


Health service developments and initiatives which were proposed for next year by the HSE in its draft service plan have been put on hold due to a lack of money.

The Irish Times has learned that the HSE told the Government it had identified about 50 projects as being “service requirements” for 2014 but that there was no funding. They would have cost €315 million.

HSE director general Tony O’Brien said at the publication of the plan earlier this week that the proposed extension of the Breastcheck screening programme to women aged 65-69 years had been postponed due to a lack of funding.

However this project was only one in a two-page list of services set out in an appendix to the draft service plan which are not to go ahead next year. The list was not released as part of the published plan for the year but has been seen by The Irish Times.

One of the most expensive developments on the list was a €40 million proposal to review homecare and community support services “to develop a new model of service delivery, maintain home-help hours at 2013 levels, provide homecare packages and support for early discharge from hospital, while reducing level of entry to long-term residential care”.

The projects include a €25 million plan to meet increased demand for dental treatment services.

Among the hospital projects which are deferred are a proposed €5 million investment to extend the national metabolic service to meet the additional need for 15 treatment places.

Proposals for a €3 million expansion to renal dialysis services which were sought by the HSE have also been put on hold, as has a plan for 10 additional critical care beds “required to meet the needs of an ageing population and increased acuity of presentations”. This would also have cost €3 million.

Stem cells
A €1 million plan to deal with increased demand for stem cell transplantation in St James’s Hospital, Dublin and at University College Hospital, Galway, were also deferred.

The HSE had also sought €450,000 to deal with capacity problems in medical oncology/ haematology programmes in the Dublin-Mid Leinster region.

The HSE had also proposed to Government a €150,000 investment to deal with increased demands for gynaecological cancer services in the Dublin and the midlands.

The health authority had also sought €2 million to deal with waiting lists for oral health treatment .

The HSE said all of the projects were considered important and would be advanced at some point in the future.

“In order to ensure that all of the services detailed in the 2014 plan are delivered to the highest level of safety and quality, it was decided, based on available funding, not to include these particular services at this time. This is to ensure that available funding is not spread too thinly, thereby potentially compromising safety and quality.”