In 2013 the health sector continues to face the dual challenge of reducing costs while at the same time improving outcomes for patients. The financial challenges to be addressed this year are significant and a total cost reduction requirement of €721m was identified in the National Service Plan approved in January.
Based on a review of financial data to date, the HSE is not flagging any new concerns or risks beyond those which were set out within the National Service Plan 2013 (NSP). These risks remain and principally include:
- Savings of €353m within the Primary Care Reimbursement Service;
- Pay and pay related savings under the Croke Park Agreement and the Haddington Road Agreement;
- Private Health Insurance Income;
- The general scale of the overall challenge within the remainder of the community and in particular hospital services.
The rebalancing of hospital budgets in 2013 has ensured that hospitals have been given budgets which are related more closely to their costs in 2012 - however as indicated in the Service Plan it has not been possible to provide for the full amount of 2012 costs. The HSE will be required to address any slippage in Cost Containment Plans and to ensure that additional measures are identified and safely implemented to bridge any projected deficits which are within HSE direct control, while engaging with my Department on a continuing basis.
There is ongoing and intensive engagement each month between officials from my Department and the HSE in the context of regular monitoring of expenditure. My Department also provides detailed analysis each month on expenditure trends to the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, and there is regular engagement between officials from that Department, my own Department and the HSE. The HSE's Performance Report, which is published every month, provides an overall analysis of key performance data from Finance, HR, Hospital and Primary & Community Services. The activity data reported is based on Performance Activity and Key Performance Indicators outlined in the HSE National Service Plan. The April Performance Report is available to view on the HSEs website - www.hse.ie