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Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

HSE deficit now at almost €400 million

The HSE said this is the first month in which there has been a reduction in the deficit reported. The INMO said the figures “fail to portray the real crisis facing the Irish public health service”.

NEW FIGURES RELEASED by the HSE show that its deficit is now €399 million – and this is the first time it has seen a reduction in its deficit.

The financial report for the HSE for September also shows a spend year to date of €9,453 million). The HSE said that there are indications that the cost containment measures in place are reducing spend rates. Key improvements include a €5m reduction in the deficit compared with the previous month.

There was also a reduction in the first nine months of 2012 of the number of people on trolleys, which went down by 23.6 per cent, or 16,659 people, compared to last year. It said that 70 per cent of hospitals fully achieved the target of having nobody waiting for more than nine months for treatment, and that 99.7 per cent of people whose referrals for breast cancer were triaged as urgent were seen within two weeks against a target of 95 per cent.

MRSA rates have declined from 0.11 per 1000 bed days in 2008 to 0.063 in the first half of 2012 which is significant, said the HSE.

Service issues

The HSE said that there were 7,091 more people admitted as emergencies in its acute hospitals than in 2011, while there were 10,260 more inpatients treated than in the same period in 2011, which is 7.6 per cent above target.

It also said that the amount of personal assistant/home support hours that have been used by people with a physical and/or sensory disability is 29.6 per cent in excess of the target of 1.23m hours. The number of people who attend nationally at prostate cancer rapid access clinics for the third quarter within 20 working days was 40.6 per cent – the national target is 90 per cent of patients.

“Real crisis”

Fianna Fáil spokesperson on health, Billy Kelleher, said that he expects Minister Reilly “will move to shore-up his budget failings by moving unspent money from his Department’s capital allocation to current spending”.

Also, there is already €125m committed from private health insurers’ to be factored in.  This will help the Ministers’ budget look a little less disastrous but it does nothing for the elderly and vulnerable in need of home help hours and community services that will continue to be cut into next year to pay for the failure of Minister Reilly to manage his budget and department properly.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) said it believes the figures fail to portray the real crisis facing the Irish public health service.

It said that the deficit of €399 million “confirms that… the original budget, for 2012, was wholly inadequate”.

INMO General Secretary Liam Doran said:

These figures only confirm, yet again, the heroic efforts of nurses, midwives and other health service staff to maintain a public health service which meets the needs of sick people. The continued criticism of the health service, for this budgetary overrun is totally unfair, misguided and unwarranted.

Read: Public Accounts Committee to examine HSE allowances>

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