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Winter plan initiatives withdrawn due to lack of funding

The Saolta University Health Care Group board has expressed concern that a number of initiatives planned under the HSE’s Winter Plan were withdrawn in order to comply with manpower and financial targets.

At the Hospital Group’s board meeting in April, the minutes of which were seen by the Medical Independent, group CEO Mr Maurice Power stated that “some of the initiatives introduced as part of the Winter Planning process” to alleviate emergency department overcrowding were withdrawn due to a lack of funding.

“The board expressed concern at this, however the CEO advised that this was necessary in order to comply with the HSE recruitment moratorium and achieve the Saolta Group Financial Plan 2019,” according to the minutes.

The board were told the HSE was planning to implement a “recruitment moratorium and a ban on staff recruitment for three months” until the end of June.

The HSE’s performance report for the first quarter of 2019 showed net expenditure of €3.9 billion against the available budget reported at €3.8 billion, giving rise to a deficit of €82.7 million.

In cases where deficits appear in operational service areas, the national directors, Community Health Organisation Chief Officers or Hospital Group CEOs have been directed to identify and put in place additional measures to enable delivery of an overall financial break-even by year-end. This has been supported by a series of additional interim controls around agency, overtime and staffing. The meeting also discussed challenges in meeting key performance indicator targets across the Hospital Group.

“Clarification was provided in relation to the delay in meeting the breast cancer KPI targets for Galway. The CEO advised that this was due to a change in triage practice,” according to the minutes.

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