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The most “significant areas of financial pressure” for the HSE “relate to the pensions and demand led areas including, the primary care reimbursement service”. That is according to the HSE Director General Mr Paul Reid who was speaking in front of the Committee of Public Accounts (PAC) this morning.
Mr Reid also told PAC members that “costs in these areas are generally driven by policy, legislative entitlements and demographic factors and as such they are not amenable to normal financial management controls”.
As part of his opening statement Mr Reid also admitted that the HSE “experienced significant difficulty in reducing costs to meet savings targets, in controlling staffing levels and in responding to demand within budget”.
“Disability services were the area of greatest financial pressure within community services,” said Mr Reid.
“This pressure largely related to the costs of providing residential care to people with an intellectual disability, with the evolving needs of existing clients as they age, and the demand for new places, exceeding our funded capacity.
“We also experienced similar pressures within our acute hospital services where activity was ahead of planned and funded levels with a very high proportion of total activity arriving via our emergency departments.”
Mr Reid added that the HSE’s financial position for year to date March 2019 shows a revenue deficit of €82.7m which represents 2.2 per cent of the available budget.
“Of this, €44.8m is in respect of greater than expected expenditure on operational service areas, which includes €17.6m on community services, mostly in respect of services for people with a disability, and €28.4m, in respect of acute hospital services.”