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Lack of contingency funding for major emergencies a concern

The concern was outlined in the Emergency Management Operational Plan 2018, which was recently published by the HSE.

“While emergency management scenarios were previously covered by contingency funding held by the HSE, these contingency funds are no longer available, and accordingly, in the event that such costs arise, they fall outside what has been provided for in the NSP [National Service Plan] and will need to be the subject of separate engagement with the DoH [Department of Health],” according to the operational plan.

The total net revenue budget available to emergency management in 2018 is €1.551 million.

The funding allocation is an overall increase of €45,000 on the final 2017 budget.

The increase has been allocated under existing level of service to fund pay cost pressures relating to national pay agreements and a marginal allocation for pay increments.

The operational plan notes that ongoing investment in emergency management (EM) is required to mitigate the severity and impact of emergencies in the HSE, and that the cost of reacting to emergency situations cannot be factored or measured in advance.

“The budgetary allocation for 2018 will be regularly monitored and tight financial controls, as per the national financial regulations, will be adhered to, with a goal toward a break-even status at year-end,” according to the operational plan.

“Pay ceilings will be monitored and adhered to. Any opportunities for EM cost reduction and value improvement will be explored and implemented in line with the relevant themes of the forthcoming Value Improvement Programme and direction from the HSE leadership team. EM will continue to work with our corporate finance partner to further align non-pay regional budgets in the most appropriate way across the ledgers.”

While options are being explored, the HSE EM South office currently has no designated crisis management team facility.

Refurbishment costs may be incurred if an identified site is deemed in need of works or upgrading by HSE Estates, according to the Executive.

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