Health Minister James Reilly is likely to grant the HSE a second deadline extension to submit its national service plan for next year after receiving a letter from health chiefs asking for a further 10 days.
The additional time period means the minister now has right up until the end of the year to review the challenges faced in finding €666m in savings.
The plan had been due to be submitted earlier this month, 21 days after the budget. However, Mr Reilly granted the HSE an extra 10 days on Nov 5. It had been scheduled to then produce its €13bn spending plan by tomorrow.
However, Mr Reilly’s spokesman last night confirmed the Department of Health had received a letter from the HSE seeking an extra 10 days to finish the service plan.
“He will look at it. The minister has already made clear the challenges facing the service plan with the serious financial constraints there.”
Earlier, Mr Reilly had told the Dáil that the HSE “may need a further extension which I will consider if that is the case”.
Health sources last night said he would likely be sympathetic to the HSE’s request.
The HSE last night said the further delay would not affect the roll out of the plan itself. A spokeswoman said: “The legislation provides for extensions. It’s the complexity of the situation. It’s been a challenging year.”
The HSE spokeswoman also said that service plans for previous years had not been completed until late January or even February.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved