Government to hold back €100m in HSE funding for new initiatives

Cabinet to consider health authority’s spending plan for 2018

 Simon Harris: he will bring the HSE service plan for 2018  before Cabinet

Simon Harris: he will bring the HSE service plan for 2018 before Cabinet

 

The Department of Health is to hold back about €100 million in funding for new developments allocated to the HSE for next year.

It will only release the funding once implementation plans for the proposed initiatives are approved or work has begun.

The Cabinet will consider the HSE’s service plan for 2018 – its agreement with the Government on how its budget of more than €14 billion for next year is spent – at its meeting on Tuesday. The plan will be published on Wednesday.

While the Department of Health has withheld some health funding from the HSE in previous years, the amounts involved on this occasion are significantly higher. The “withheld” monies will be related to new health initiatives in the primary care, social inclusion and mental health areas.

Ministers have been told this funding will only be released by the Department of Health to the HSE on approval of implementation plans for new projects or on the commencement of specific developments.

Overall funding for the plan will be €14.535 billion as earmarked for 2018 in the October budget.

Language therapy

The plan will provide for increases in funding for speech and language therapy, paediatric home-care packages, respite care, as well as emergency residential placements. The plan is expected to emphasise that all other services will be expected to perform in line with 2017 without cuts in any existing delivery.

However, because of the increase in allocation in selected areas the HSE will be expected to find savings without cutting any existing services.

The service plan will be brought before Cabinet on Tuesday by Minister for Health Simon Harris.

Earlier this month the Oireachtas approved a supplementary estimate of about €195 million for the HSE to cover financial overruns in 2017.

The money was allocated to cover the cost of the Government decision to accelerate the payment of pay rises to public service staff earlier this year, as well as to deal with financial pressures in the acute hospital system and some once-off measures to improve access to planned and unplanned care.