Tuesday, 27 January 2004

Questions (608)

Denis Naughten


722 Mr. Naughten asked the Minister for Health and Children the reason the Western Health Board received the smallest percentage increase in its letter of determination; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1631/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Health and Children)

The 2004 determination for the Western Health Board is €780.059 million, which is an increase on 9.98% over the 2003 revised base determination. The method used for deciding on the determination for any health board relates to the base level of approved funding being carried over from the previous year, increased by overall adjustments for specific services, pay increases, demand led schemes, casemix and inflation factors and other service developments, together with once-off funding not repeated in the current year. The decisions on the determinations are informed by ongoing discussions during the previous year between health boards and my Department in the context of delivering services within the approved budget.

While adjustments for technical items — pay issues and inflation — are applied on a consistent basis across boards, specific service adjustments are determined by policy considerations and the needs of individual catchment areas. Such decisions can affect the base determination, the current year determination and the comparison as between those. As I understand from preliminary figures for 2003, the board, once again, performed very well against its service plan targets and financial budget. In particular, acute hospital output increased over 2002 levels (based on the latest available data) and, overall, it gained some €1.66 million in the casemix adjustments in 2004. The Western Health Board gained more than any other board for the casemix adjustment for 2004. The adjustments made to the Western Health Board determination for 2004 are entirely consistent with the approach taken with other boards and health agencies.