Harris says Government will not cover €100m HSE overspend

Cost overrun will go forward as a charge next year

Minister for Health Simon Harris at the health committee on Wednesday

Minister for Health Simon Harris at the health committee on Wednesday


Minister for Health Simon Harris says the Government will not cover the cost of a €100 million overspend by the HSE this year in hospitals and disability services.

Under new budgetary rules, this means the cost overrun will go forward as a charge on the budget of the health service next year, when it will have to be funded by the HSE internally.

Mr Harris says his department is in discussions with the Department of Public Expenditure about funding overspending by the HSE in areas it says are beyond its control.

This includes a €100 million bill for the health service arising from the Government’s decision to pay a €1,000 allowance to public servants in April this year, six months early. Spending on settling medical negligence claims settled by the State Claims Agency is also above budget this year, and this is regarded as outside the control of the HSE.

Mr Harris told the Oireachtas health committee some hospitals were making much more progress cutting emergency department overcrowding than others. Hospitals such as Beaumont and Connolly, as well as Cavan and Mayo, have some of the lowest trolley figures over the last decade, despite the challenges they face.

Good managers make a difference and “some people are clearly doing a much better job than others”, Mr Harris told the committee.

Labour deputy leader Alan Kelly said the Minister was not comparing “apples with apples”. Different hospital networks need to be looked at differently because of their individual circumstances, he said.

Mr Kelly said “you can’t get people out of the hospital in Limerick” due to a problem with transport.

Mr Harris pointed out that even among Dublin hospitals, some institutions were performing better than others.