The health sector has been set challenging targets in regard to achievement of savings under the Haddington Road Agreement. The total amount of savings to be achieved using the Haddington Road enablers in 2014 is €290 million. The HSE’s National Directors have developed an implementation plan outlining how savings of €290 million will be extracted, using the enablers provided in the Haddington Road Agreement. This plan involves the review of rosters, skill mix and staffing levels in hospitals to ensure the extra hours provided under the Haddington Road Agreement are maximised to reduce spending on agency and overtime.
The HSE is driving a renewed focus on Haddington Road Agreement savings potential, particularly in acute hospitals, in the context of overall cost containment plans for the health service in 2014. It is imperative that patient safety continues to be maintained in the context of these reductions and achieving this requires that relevant expertise is applied to the decision making process. The plan does not involve making any additional savings to those outlined in the 2014 Service Plan.
It should be noted that the Haddington Road Agreement has provided additional resources for the health sector. For example, the increase in nursing hours available under the HRA equates to approximately 1,100 additional nurses. In addition, nearly 500 nurses and midwives have commenced employment in recent months on the graduate scheme.