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Leo's Christmas wish: He wanted €500m... He's being given almost €200m extra

The supplementary health budget has been announced. And it’s a whopper.

Image: Brian Lawless

HEALTH MINISTER LEO Varadkar has been granted a supplementary health budget for 2014 of €680 million — almost €200 more than the figure he had been lobbying for.

Varadkar had been asking for €500 million to fill the hole in his his annual budget.

It’s typical for supplementary budgets for Health to be announced towards the end of the year, and Varadkar said the funding would help account for “increased levels of medical activity, drugs and therapies, medical appliances, the cost of State claims, and frontline staff”.

Of the total supplementary payment, €510m is going on the HSE deficit, while €54 million is required for payments by the HSE to the State Claims Agency.

Additionally, €5 million is being allocated towards drug programmes for high-risk Hepatitis C patients, and €3 million is going towards a new ‘delayed discharge’ scheme for patients. 

“The timing of income collection and working capital requirements associated with prior years contributes a further €108 million cash requirement in 2014,” the Department said in a statement. 

Fianna Fáil health spokesperson Billy Kelliher said the payment was “the direct result of the fundamentally flawed 2014 health budget”.

“The fallout from last year’s bogus budget has resulted in exorbitant waiting lists, increases in the number of patients on trolleys and long delays across a range of services,” Kelleher said — calling on the Minister to explain what impact the overrun would have on the health budget in 2015.

“The impact of these ill-thought out funding allocations are leading to diminished services across the health sector and will compound the pressure on already stretched resources,” Kelleher added.

Varadkar said the large supplementary budget “allows us to bring forward some spending from 2015 into December of this year”.

“It will have no impact whatsoever on the budget for the Department of Health for next year and the HSE Service Plan announced last week is unaffected and the figures remain unchanged.”

Read: How safe is Enda Kenny as Fine Gael leader? 

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