HSE must save €103m to come in on budget

THE Health Service Executive needs to make savings of €103 million in the next three months in order to come in on budget.

Figures from the HSE show that at the start of last month, it had spent €7.479 billion even though it had only budgeted for €7.444bn. That amounts to a deficit of €35.2m.

However, the deficit could be considerably higher because that figure depends on the HSE being available to avail of the Primary Care Reimbursement Service, which currently stands at €27m, as well as quality/clinical care and some contingency funding.

The HSE has to get permission from the Department of Finance to access the primary care reimbursement service and it admits that could be “complicated” by the shortfall in collection of the health levy within appropriations-in-aid.

As it stands, all regions in the country are well over-budget.

The HSE West has the worst deficit at €45m. Dublin North East’s overspend is €42m, Dublin Mid Leinster is €31m and the South is €22m.

As it stands, there is a €109.7m deficit in hospitals.

In the primary care and community services spheres, the HSE reported overspends in disability services (€8m), mental health (€6m), multi-care group services (€10m), social inclusion (€17m) and primary care (€14m).

Yet it had an underspend of more than €8m in services to elderly people.

In terms of capital, the health authority has actually under-spent by €53m.

It has under-spent by €32m in terms of its construction budget and €10m in its information technology budget.

Employment in the health service has fallen by 525 positions since the start of the year leaving 109,228.

“Two further quarterly ceiling reductions of 380 WTE are to be put in place in September and December 2010 respectively,” the HSE said.

“The current employment ceiling stands at 109,602 and in overall terms the health service is operating at 375 whole-time-equivalents below ceiling.”

The statistics released by the HSE show that even though emergency admissions have reduced by 0.5% compared to the same period last year, they are still 9.9% higher than the HSE’s targets for this year.

“This level of activity will have to be managed together with the levels of delayed discharges in hospitals, and the number of closed beds (currently at 966),” the report said.

Two other notable statistics are that day of procedure rates are at 48% compared to a target of 75%.

The percentage of children in care with written care plans stands at 81.9% compared to a target of 94%, while the percentage of those in care assigned to a social worker stands at 86.5% compared to a target of 93%.

In the disability sector, just 21% of assessments have been completed compared to a target of 100%.


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