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Service Plan states senior managers must continue to tighten financial controls

By Dermot - 17th Dec 2019

Any excess costs incurred above the budgets or financial limits, at the end of this year, will have to be dealt with by the relevant Community Healthcare Organisation (CHO), Hospital Group or voluntary organisation, according to the HSE National Service Plan 2020.

The HSE’s 2020 budget of €17,056 million is an increase of €1,006 million (6.3 per cent) on 2019 funding.

In addition, the HSE has welcomed the announcement by the Department of Health of a commitment to provide additional funding to the Health Vote of €50m in the Revised Estimates Volume for 2020.  This funding will augment services in the areas of older people, disability, the voluntary hospice sector, winter capacity, homelessness, and assisted human reproduction services.

However, the 2020 service plan underlines the continuing financial challenges faced by the Executive.

“All senior managers have been requested to tighten financial and staffing controls in the last quarter of 2019,” according to the plan.

“A similar level of focus on financial management with the same core assumption, including control of pay costs to ensure planned affordable growth in healthcare staff, will be maintained and where necessary strengthened in 2020.

“The HSE has also modelled the theoretical level of activity that the 2020 funding will pay for and identified service areas where the HSE is expected to address service demands. This provides an estimate for an element of the overall financial challenge, which will need to be met by way of achievable savings measures. Finally, there is a requirement, as set out in the LoD [Letter of Determination sent from the Minister], to fund aspects of new 2020 costs via savings measures (€125 million).”

In order to achieve “cost reduction” the HSE will promote the switch to bio-similar drugs– to enable continued access to High Tech and other medications by offsetting cost growth.

There will also be a Department of Health-led sustainability programme on community pharmaceutical costs – to enable continued access to High Tech and other medications by offsetting cost growth.

There will also be  “general efficiencies to support new and existing service costs” including pay increments.

“The details of specific initiatives will need to be worked through with the relevant service providers but typically requires circa 1 per cent efficiency target being applied to existing budgets in service areas with a minimum of circa 1.3 per cent being applied to corporate type areas,”according to the plan.