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Minister sought late changes to HSE service plan

The HSE National Service Plan 2020 was subject to late changes with new funding, including winter capacity measures, approved just days before publication on 17 December.

In correspondence to Chair of the HSE board Mr Ciarán Devane on 22 November, Minister for Health Simon Harris indicated his approval for the draft plan, subject to “a small number of amendments”.

Mr Devane replied on 29 November advising that the HSE board accepted these amendments and re-submitted the updated plan to the Minister

However, on 13 December, Minister Harris wrote to Mr Devane seeking a number of new amendments following meetings with cabinet colleagues.

“In considering the revised plan, I have consulted with colleagues and I am very happy to inform you that the Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform has now advised me of a commitment to provide additional funding to the Health Vote of €50 million in the Revised Estimates Volumes of 2020,” wrote Minister Harris.

The Minister outlined the extra funding, which included €26 million to the nursing homes support scheme (NHSS), €5 million “to enhance disability services” and €13.8 million for “additional winter capacity, including egress measures such as additional home care packages and transitional care”.

“Given the increased services that can be provided, it is important that the commitment to additional funding, as outlined above, be reflected in the national service plan.”

In his response, also on 13 December, Mr Devane welcomed the Minister’s letter and stated that “the plan has been amended to reflect increases in activity levels of disability services, NHSS and transitional care services”.

The letters were seen by the Medical Independent following a Freedom of Information request.

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