I have emphasised to the Health Service Executive the need to address health spending urgently including by means of the following measures;
- Steps to ensure compliance with the staffing limits for 2019. Pending receipt of finalised financial plans which will manage the staffing levels back to affordable numbers, on 29 March the Health Service Executive put in place measures and controls regarding recruitment.
- A reporting and monitoring structure around agreed savings targets in the National Service Plan, with responsible managers providing a monthly report commencing in respect of Quarter 1.
- A mid-year review of the Health Service Executives performance on savings and staffing limits with further interventions to follow, if necessary.
- The establishment of a new HSE Board governance structure, with strong competencies across key areas, will further contribute to strengthening the oversight and performance of the HSE pending its further reorganisation. The recent appointment of a CEO to the Health Service Executive will also strengthen the HSE’s leadership and focus on performance. In fact, the development and implementation of an effective performance management and accountability system in the HSE has been identified by me as one of the priority issues for the new Board.
The National Service Plan requires the HSE to protect and promote the health and well-being of the population, having regard to the resources available to it, and making the most efficient and effective use of those resources. Implementation of the Service Plan is ongoing and my Department understands that the position of the HSE is that protection of front line service delivery is it's priority. The legislation (Health Act 2004, as amended) does provide for me to direct the HSE to submit an amended service plan if necessary.
My Department is engaging in ongoing dialogue with both the HSE and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in relation to the financial performance of the Health Service Executive year to date, including consideration of the projected outturn for the year.
These discussions are ongoing and until they are concluded it would not be appropriate for me to anticipate the outcome.