Mater hospital accounts show accumulated deficit in excess of €22m

Dublin hospital received more than €420m in HSE funding last year, up from €377m in 2021, records show

The Mater hospital in Dublin has said it is carrying more than €22 million in an accumulated financial deficit, which has built up over many years, according to its financial accounts.

Financial accounts for the hospital, filed last month, state 2022 was “another challenging year for the hospital”, due to increased demand across its services.

The hospital received €421 million in funding from the HSE last year, up from €377 million in 2021, records show.

‘Global inflation’

The budget increase of 13 per cent “reflects increase in staff required for new bed capacity and the increased cost of pay and non-pay inflation for the year”, its accounts said.


Non-pay related costs had increased by 10 per cent, which its financial accounts said reflected “the impact of global inflation on medical supplies and energy supply”.

“Staffing levels were challenged due to worldwide shortage of medical and nursing staff and the requirement to recruit additional staff for new capacity,” the accounts noted.

The hospital ran a small surplus which saw the deficit it was carrying reduce slightly to €22.6 million last year.

Financial accounts for the hospital from 2013 show at the end of that year it had a built-up deficit of €13.6 million.

The latest accounts from 2022 noted that negotiations on the final budget allocation for this year remain ongoing with the Health Service Executive.

A spokeswoman for the Mater hospital said its deficit had remained “largely unchanged” for the past three years, despite a “significant increase” in demands on its services.

“We are facing the pressures of increased numbers of patients needing our care, inflation costs and the complex nature of the acuity of the care needed by our patients,” she said.

The hospital was working with the HSE to address these issues, the spokeswoman added.

Accounts from the Mater’s parent company said the absence of any commitment from the HSE to increase its funding to clear historical deficits was leading to “uncertainty”.

The parent company includes accounts of the Mater hospital, as well as the National Orthopedic Hospital Cappagh, in Finglas, northwest Dublin.

‘Uncertainty exists’

Financial accounts for this company, also filed last month, state management in the Mater hospital was in “continuing discussions” with the HSE.

The company was projected to run further deficits on the basis of its 2023 budget allocation from the HSE, “if existing service and expenditure levels are to be maintained”, the accounts noted. “Discussions are ongoing with the HSE on the 2023 budget allocation,” they stated.

The hospitals’ accounts said “uncertainty exists” as a result of a lack of any commitment from the HSE to increase funding, “to clear the historic net current liabilities”.

A spokesman for the Ireland East Hospital Group, which covers the Mater, said it was “fully engaged” with the hospital in relation to its financial position.

The hospital group said it was working with the Mater, “to ensure appropriate cost control measures are in place and do not envisage any reduction in services in the current year”.

Jack Power

Jack Power

Jack Power is acting Europe Correspondent of The Irish Times