“Hospitals that have stuck to budgets and delivered savings are being penalised with significant budget cuts,” said Fianna Fáil’s health spokesman, Billy Kelleher.
HSE hospital funding allocations reveal that St James’s Hospital in Dublin faces the biggest budget reduction this year at 3.4% — a loss of almost €9m and a budget of €263m this year. A spokesperson for St James’s said he did not want to comment on the allocation.
Mr Kelleher said the minister needed to explain how he had cooked up such a shortsighted and counter-productive strategy.
Other hospitals whose budgets were cut:
*Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Dublin — €3.5m cut (-2.8%);
*Children’s University Hospital, Temple Street — €1.5m cut (-2%).
According to RTÉ, Mayo General Hospital in the Taoiseach’s constituency received over €7m — a 10% budget increase.
Other substantial budget allocations include:
*Mid West Hospital Group, including Limerick Regional — a €24.5m increase (+11.5%);
*Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, — €18.5m increase (+8.4%);
*Cork University Hospital — up 5.4%;
*Mater Hospital, Dublin — up 5.7%.
However, Fianna Fáil’s claim that the allocations were politically driven towards key ministerial constituencies, including the Taoiseach’s, was rejected by HSE chief Tony O’Brien.
Mr O’Brien said he had not been lobbied by Dr Reilly or any other minister on behalf of any particular health service and that what the authority had done was give hospitals a fighting chance of breaking even at the end of this year.
Mr O’Brien said he had asked Dr Reilly and other ministers in the Department of Health for a re-balancing of hospital budgets and that necessitated money being taken from elsewhere in the health system. He said the authority had tried to match spending by hospitals last year, less 3%, and to do that funding had to be redistributed, both within the hospital system and within the health system.
“Without this re-balancing every hospital would have had a 3.5% cut. No hospital has suffered that level of cut,” said Mr O’Brien.