The Health Budget Oversight Group of officials from my Department, the Department of Health and the HSE was established earlier this year. The overarching purpose of the Group is to monitor and oversee the effective control of Health expenditure and staffing in line with the Budget allocation and to act as an early warning mechanism for any deviations. It also helps develop an understanding of the trends in health expenditure and the factors driving it which in turn help to inform budget-related and on-going policy discussions.
Under its National Service Plan, the HSE identified €499.9m of savings measures to be achieved during the course of 2019. The HSE produces monthly ‘Savings Measures’ reports, which provide an update on the HSE’s Savings Measures Implementation Plan. These reports outline actual savings in the year to date, and compare them to a monthly savings profile, based on the total amount of savings deemed achievable by the HSE. These reports are shared with members of the Health Budget Oversight Group, which can examine and provide commentary on the savings performance. The HSE are forecasting that by the end of 2019, €312m of the NSP target of €500m will have been achieved. This overall savings performance has contributed to an improved budgetary performance in 2019 within the Health sector, relative to the previous year, albeit the shortfall in the overall savings objective has contributed to the requirement for a supplementary estimate for the Health Vote in 2019.