HSE under pressure to abide by Haddington Road agreement

HSE to confirm it overran budget by €63 million in first six months of year

A spokesman for the Minister for Health James Reilly declined to comment last night on whether he anticipated that the Haddington Road savings for the health service would come in on target

A spokesman for the Minister for Health James Reilly declined to comment last night on whether he anticipated that the Haddington Road savings for the health service would come in on target

Wed, Sep 18, 2013, 01:01

The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform is insisting that the health service delivers on its side of the Haddington Road agreement amid concerns that the HSE may not be able to generate the full €150 million in savings stipulated in the accord.

New financial figures to be published today will show that the HSE recorded a gross deficit of €63 million in the first six months of the year.

However, the report will also indicate that this figure – considerably lower than the deficit that applied at the same period last year – is based on a number of assumptions including that the €150 million in savings along with an additional €60 million in payments from health insurance companies actually materialises.

If there is a significant shortfall in the Haddington Road savings for the year, the HSE deficit could increase considerably in the months ahead.

Some senior health service sources were yesterday privately predicting that the Haddington Road savings could ultimately be nearer to €100 million than €150 million and that the overall HSE deficit for the year could be in the region of €200 million.


Deficit
Any significant deficit in the health budget for this year could have knock-on implications for the Government as it seeks to frame its financial figures for next year.

A spokesman for the Minister for Health James Reilly declined to comment last night on whether he anticipated that the Haddington Road savings for the health service would come in on target.

The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform said that the issue of saving under the Haddington Road deal had been considered as part of discussions during the budgetary and estimates process.

“As is normal the Department of Health is expected to manage within its approved budget . . . and deliver the savings it negotiated during the talks which led to the Haddington Road agreement,” the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform said.

Dr Reilly yesterday gave the first public indication on Tuesday that the health service could over-run its budget again this year. In 2012 the Government had to provide a supplementary budget of more than €300 million to bail out the health service.