Health service finds €100m savings in 12 months under Croke Park deal

THE HSE has confirmed an estimated €100m in savings have been generated in the last year across the health sector through the implementation of the Croke Park deal on public service reform.

HSE National Director of Human Resources Seán McGrath confirmed the savings were made between March 2010 and March 2011 as he attended the IMPACT trade union conference in Tralee. He added that going forward into 2011 “we have ongoing savings from the moratorium which is about €90m”.

Mr McGrath pointed out that across the public sector, the health service would contribute “probably in excess of 50% of the savings that are there”.

Confirmation of the health contribution to savings made under Croke Park came as the man who mediated between employers, employees and the last Government to form the deal warned that time was running out to fully implement its contents.

Kieran Mulvey, chief executive of the Labour Relations Commission, said the country was in an international crisis, could not pay its own way and needed to act urgently. “What worries me is that sometimes we seem to take the scenic route to change,” he said.

“We cannot pay our own way and we need to change publicly and privately our approach to work and how we reward and pay ourselves for that work and how we maintain valuable and essential public services. Unless we do it ourselves, it will be done for us and it will be done for us in September by the troika. I believe we have the rest of May, June, July and August for parties to address this urgently.”

He told Newstalk radio if progress had not been made by September, the decisions taken by the IMF, EU and ECB could cause significant industrial relations and social trouble. He y described the Croke Park deal as an “organic” agreement and said certain elements may need to be jettisoned, others added.

Meanwhile at yesterday’s conference, Seán McGrath confirmed changes to hospital consultants’ rosters to make them more flexible was “front and centre” in the HSE’s thinking. He

was asked by one delegate whether he was prepared to “take on the consultants and rearrange the way they operate”.

“I would argue consultants are changing, are delivering service,” said Mr McGrath. “Unfortunately at times you see the opposite side of that but clearly having clinical leadership and having the consultant decision makers on a five over seven or seven over seven basis is absolutely crucial for the way we are going. That is something we have very much put front and centre as a clear deliverable in 2011.”


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