Ceisteanna — Questions. Oral Answers. - Health Services.


asked the Minister for Health the estimated cost of the health services in 1983 following the recent increases in fuel and energy costs which were announced by the Minister for Finance.

The estimated net cost of the health services in 1983 on which the provision for health in the Book of Estimates was based took account of estimated overall average increases in price levels affecting health services expenditure including expenditure on fuel and energy. Accordingly no adjustments are at present proposed in the 1983 Estimates as a result of recent increases in fuel and energy prices.

Is the Minister saying that the mini budget we had in January did not impose additional costs on the health services? Would he not agree that additional costs in terms of energy amount to £3 million?

As the Deputy is aware the allocations to health agencies in the Estimates included a provision to cover price increases. The Deputy will agree that one should not disclose the percentage price increase included for obvious reasons. It is estimated that expenditure on the items relating to recent increases is of the order of £4 million. That is out of a total non-pay expenditure of £350 million. The impact in terms of the recent increases can be calculated from that.

The Minister is saying that a considerable proportion of the allocation for additional price increases in the health services has been taken up by the increases which the Government imposed in January notwithstanding any further increases which may come later this afternoon?

I do not share the Deputy's view in this matter. As he knows in the Estimates which were published in November a provision was specifically included to cover price increases in 1983. Undoubtedly recent increases have eroded a portion of that but it is only a small fraction.