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€270m hospitals deficit projected for 2014

19 Dec 2014

The total additional funding being sought by the HSE for 2014 is €680 million, according to supplementary budget figures.

Savings of €4 million, expected in the Department of Health’s Vote, are being allocated to meet the HSE’s requirements, giving a net cost to the Exchequer of €676 million.

Several factors have contributed to the total expenditure overrun of €510 million, primarily expenditure on acute hospital services, arising from factors such as the growth in emergency admissions, the treatment of more elderly and complex patients and an increase in bed days delivered.

Hospitals are projected to be almost €270 million in deficit by the end of the year, which is the biggest single element of the €510 million deficit.

Last year’s hospital deficit was €180 million and it was only possible to deal with €100 million of this in setting the budgets for 2014, leaving an ongoing underlying incoming problem of approximately €80 million in 2014.

Hospital costs have grown by approximately €72 million this year, with the numbers of bed days and day cases up by 3 per cent. Emergency admissions are up by 3 per cent and admissions for very elderly patients — those aged over 85 years — are up by 4.5 per cent.

There is a projected deficit of some €95 million in the primary care reimbursement service (PCRS), which comprises a deficit of €50 million on schemes administered centrally, including the GMS payments scheme and the long-term illness scheme, and a deficit of €45 million on locally administered schemes.

Pension costs, including lump sums, will have a deficit in the region of €30 million, and there is an additional estimated State Claims Agency requirement of €54 million. The Supplementary Estimate also seeks an additional €5 million for the early access programme that has been put in place for patients with hepatitis C who require immediate access to new direct-acting antiviral drugs.

Currently, it is expected that 108 patients will be approved for inclusion in the early access programme. Some €30 million has been provided in 2015 for these new medicines.

The HSE will have “over €750 million more to fund services in 2015 compared to over €300 million less in 2014 versus the allocation for the previous year,” the Minister for Health has said. “This is a significant turnaround.”

Gary Culliton

Click here to view the full article which appeared in Irish Medical Times