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Dublin: 1°C Tuesday 26 January 2021

Meeting both current and future challenges 'unsustainable' says HSE as €16 billion 2019 plan unveiled

The national service plan for 2019 sees an additional €848 million in the healthcare budget.

1600 Simon Harris_90561077 Health Minister Simon Harris (centre) at the launch of the plan with Ministers Finian McGrath and Catherine Byrne. Source: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

THE HSE PUBLISHED its national service plan for 2019, with a budget of €16 billion allocated by the government. 

At the launch of the plan yesterday, its deputy director general of strategy Dean Sullivan sounded a warning that despite the 5.6% increase in its budget for next year, the HSE remains under pressure in a number of areas. 

He said: “While we will endeavour to ensure we provide value for the monies we spend, we are very cognisant that meeting both current and future challenges is not sustainable.

We continue to experience high hospital occupancy levels, pressure regarding waiting lists and increasing demands on other social care and demand led schemes.

The growing and ageing population, along with increased life expectancy, continue to place increasing pressure on services, the HSE said.

The extra €848 million given to the HSE this year follows an overspend of €700 million this year. 

The HSE said its key priorities for next year are to maintain activity at 2018 levels, focus on cost reductions, minimise risk and promote patient safety.

Additional funding announced for next year includes €9 million to the CervicalCheck and HPV vaccination schemes, €12 million for termination of pregnancy services and €70.3 million for changes to the primary care scheme.

It also said that funding for mental health services is set to increase by €55 million.

Recruitment is set to be scaled back next year, with funding to hire an additional 2,000 staff members in 2019 compared to 4,000 this year. 

A full copy of the 156-page plan can be found here

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