I can assure the Deputy that the Executive is committed to standard payment terms of 30 days. However, given the multitude of processing centres across the HSE, and indeed within its individual units, in order to meet a 15 day period, it would require the introduction of a single financial and procurement system. Whilst there are plans in this regard, it will be some time before this is in place. Taking into account that over 7,000 invoices are received daily by the Executive across a multiplicity of service delivery units, it has consistently been my Department's view that it is not logistically possible to apply the 15 day payment rule to the HSE at this time.
There are significant cost implications in achieving the 15 day target and it has been estimated that it would have an €80m impact on the HSE's cash flow. Given the current severe pressure on the HSE's finances achieving 100% compliance would have a serious impact on services.