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HSE audit committee has ‘major concerns’ over finances

The HSE audit committee has raised “major concerns” over the HSE’s “continuing and predicted budgetary shortfalls” and says it is “disturbed” by ongoing financial control weaknesses.

The concerns were outlined by the HSE audit committee in its annual report for 2018, which has been seen by the Medical Independent following a Freedom of Information request.

A copy of the annual report was sent to Minister for Health Simon Harris by then Interim Director General Ms Anne O’Connor in early April.

In terms of the general financial situation faced by the HSE, the report concluded that the committee “continues to have major concerns arising from the financial challenges facing the HSE and the impact of continuing and predicted budgetary shortfalls on the HSE’s capacity to meet its strategic goals”.

The report also stated concern about the “materiality of some of the adverse findings and control weaknesses” reported by HSE internal audit and the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General.

“It is also disturbing that a significant number of these were reported in previous years, and had been noted and discussed previously by the committee, and were still recurring. The committee re-emphasises that [it] is imperative that management action is improved and accelerated to address the control environment and the recurring weaknesses identified in these areas.”

The report further outlined that the committee was “concerned about the timeliness of implementing internal audit recommendations. It brought this to the attention of the Director General who shares these concerns and has increased management focus on this issue.

“The committee is also concerned at the internal audit findings of inaccurate reporting on the status of internal audit recommendations and has requested further clarification on this issue.”

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