The Health Service Executive’s 2019 National Service Plan is based on an increased budget of over €848 million over the revised allocation for last year and brings their total budget for the 2019 financial year to over €16 billion.
This is the largest ever financial allocation provided to our health services and will enable the continued improvement of services for our patients and for the Irish public who want to see continued investment in public services.
In the last five years funding for community delivered services has increased by 27% to €5,876m, this increase in funding has facilitated key service developments including an annual allocation in excess of €3.3 billion to voluntary service providers.
Within this funding envelope the Health Service Executive, as required under its National Service Plan, and through its service level agreements will ensure that the health and well-being of population in receipt of services through the voluntary sector will be protected and promoted, having regard to the resources available.
The Report of the Independent Review Group highlighted the need for both the statutory and the voluntary sectors and recognised that they depend upon and benefit from each other.
The voluntary sector will continue to play an integral role in the delivery of health and social care services and I intend to establish a new dialogue process to provide a forum for engaging with the voluntary sector, in particular on proposed Sláintecare reforms and other policy initiatives.
It is important, however, that when assessing the scope to develop services that the additional opportunities available through the improved management of existing resources, to benefit the greatest possible number of service users, receives ongoing attention by organisations in receipt of health service funding. This is a key objective of the National Service Plan which is ongoing.