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The National Service Plan for the HSE, which details spending of its €20.623 billion allocation for 2021, has been published.
The financial allocation represents an increase of €3.5 billion or 21 per cent on the 2020 National Service Plan.
Within the extra €3.5 billion for operating costs, some €1.68 billion is for Covid-19 spending.
The remaining €1.8 billion extra represents an underlying increase of 10.6 per cent in health spending compared to last year, well ahead of the average annual increase of 7.3 per cent received across the years 2016-2020.
€1.1 billion of this additional investment is to deliver permanent and enduring improvements in healthcare arising from the Sláintecare reform programme. The remaining €0.7 billion of this underlying (ie non-Covid) increase is to cover the increased costs of providing existing levels of service which have increased due to demographic changes and various cost increases.
The plan includes details on €426 million in funding for increasing capacity, and €313 million for enhanced community and social care services.
€12 million has been set aside in the plan for public health; €12m for mental health: and €15 million disability services.
Mr Paul Reid, CEO, HSE said: “This significant investment represents the trust that the Government and the public have placed in us after a year in which our staff have gone above and beyond to do all they can to keep people safe and healthy. The last 12 months have brought very rapid changes in how we provide healthcare, and we intend to use the best of the changes coupled with the new investment to sustainably transform how we deliver healthcare in Ireland.”
According to the Chairman of the HSE Mr Ciarán Devane: “Covid-19 continues to pose a risk to ‘normal’ healthcare activities. We have seen the most extraordinary of responses from both the public and from staff across the HSE during the pandemic. In 2021 we are investing in initiatives that we consider most likely to deliver demonstrable, sustainable improvements to health service performance and delivery. In this regard the NSP is characterised by a marked move towards the delivery of care in the community or at home whenever possible.”
The plan provides for additional spending to improve many services including those in the areas of cancer, maternity and mental health. It provides for an addition of 16,000 staff above December 2019 employment levels including over 1,100 medical and dental staff, more than 3,500 nurses and midwives and 4,000 health and social care professionals.
The allocation for additional Covid-19 related spending includes Personal Protective Equipment (€450 million); the vaccination programme (€200 million – initial sum); testing and tracing (€445 million); and improving access to care (€210 million).
The plan addresses how to deliver services and functions in 2021 in the context of a global pandemic, and specifically what services are planned for 2021 to control the spread of Covid-19.
According to Mr Reid, CEO, HSE: “The need to adapt our services urgently to the requirements imposed by the pandemic has led to some rapid changes, such as a move to increasing the volume and variety of services provided in the community. In 2021 we hope to use the additional funding to reinforce and support this move, which is in line with the Sláintecare reform agenda.”