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HSE Chief Executive Paul Reid
Health Service

The HSE has €1.4 billion more to spend on healthcare in 2020

In total, it has €17.4 billion – a 6.3% increase in funding compared to 2019.

THE HSE HAS published its National Service Plan 2020, following approval from government – and it has seen an increase in funds.

The plan for 2020 has a budget of €17.4 billion allocated by the government. 

This represents a 6.3% increase in funding compared to 2019.

Last week, the HSE boss Paul Reid said the plan was adopted by the board and submitted to the minister for consideration. 

While there is the usual overspend on health, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said budgetary control of the health overspend is less than half of the previous year’s.

Reid told the Oireachtas Health Committee last week that as of the end of September, its budget overrun was €319 million, which is 100% lower than it was for the same period last year when the overruns hit €636 million. 

The total HSE budget for 2020 includes additional investments which include additional home care hours and the establishment of a pilot for statutory home support scheme including an additional 230,000 hours beyond the 2019 target level.

Supports for school leavers with disabilities to access supports and services to meet their needs, for disability needs assessment, for autism services and for additional respite capacity.

In addition, there will be additional personal assistance hours and additional emergency residential places.

Additional palliative care beds – 55 beds in Kildare, Mayo, Waterford and Wicklow – are to be provided under the plan, as well as measures to widen eligibility, including the extension of free GP care to children under the age of eight, and lower co-payment thresholds.

The plan also includes supports for homelessness and addiction services, including the establishment of a residential treatment service for homeless women and children in the mid-west region.

The budget also outlines supports for assisted human reproduction services.

Last week, Health Minister Simon Harris announced that 190 hospital beds are to be opened up to alleviate pressure on overcrowded emergency departments.

An initial tranche of 83 beds have been approved for opening at Letterkenny University Hospital, the Midland Regional Hospital Tullamore, Waterford University Hospital, Cork University Hospital, University Hospital Limerick and the Children’s hospitals in Dublin.

The minister said the National Treatment Purchase Fund has written to each hospital group and it is engaging with them to finalise the details of the additional capacity.

He also announced that the cost of attending Minor Injury Units will be reduced from €100 to €75, effective from next week.

There are 11 of the units dotted around the country and they are designed for the treatment of broken bones, dislocations, wounds and other injuries that are unlikely to need admission to hospital. 

Commenting on the plan this afternoon, Paul Reid said: “There is no doubt that overall we aren’t currently delivering the kind of health service that the public expects and which we aspire to. 

“The commitment to the reform of our healthcare system has not proven easy to deliver. Certainly, it will not be achieved within a single service planning cycle. 

“But it can be must be done, over the coming years. I am happy that this service plan represents an important first step on that journey.” 

With reporting by Hayley Halpin

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