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RCSI Hospitals Group warns of financial risks

The net budget allocation for the Hospital Group for this year is €731.5 million, according to the plan recently published by the HSE.

This represents a €4.6 million (0.6 per cent) reduction compared with the outturn in 2017.

In addition, the “determined projection” for 2018 is €756.3 million, which is €24.8 million (2.9 per cent) above budget.

Another issue of concern is a projected income deficit of €13 million. The plan stated that no action had been agreed to reduce expenditure to offset the continuing fall in private income.

The RCSI Hospitals Group also noted that activity targets set in 2017, for 2018, have not been factored in. There has been a 5 per cent increase in emergency patient attendance across the Group over this time-frame. 

The plan also stated that GP provision is low in the RCSI Hospitals catchment area, particularly in Meath, Cavan and Monaghan.

“This may lead to increased hospital activity which would be more appropriately carried out in a community setting and increased numbers of hospitalisations, which could have been avoided with higher primary care provision,” the Operational Plan stated.

In terms of payment costs, the plan raises concern about the €26 million associated with the impact of national pay agreements.

“Some unavoidable pay-related costs, such as increments, employer PRSI changes and national HR instructions, are not fully funded and will impact on the ability to break even,” according to the document.

The full-year impact of service developments commenced in 2017 increases pay expenditure by €8.5 million, it outlined.

Meanwhile, the University of Limerick (UL) Hospitals Group Operational Plan 2018 stated that its budget for the year is €308.561 million. The 2018 allocation compares to a final 2017 allocation of €291.264 million.

“The Group will face a financial challenge in 2018 in delivering services which meet the needs of the population in a safe manner, whilst taking account of realistic opportunities to maximise efficiencies,” according to the document.

“The Group will work with the HSE in addressing the financial challenge as a value improvement programme is established.”

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