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19m GMS prescriptions processed in 2015 — HSE

16 Jun 2016

Over 19 million GMS prescriptions were processed in 2015 covering almost 58 million items, and 431,306 people were in receipt of a GP-visit card.

Employment growth has led to significant employment control and cost challenges at the HSE, and these would continue to be monitored “against general affordability, allocated pay budgets and funded workforce plans”, the Executive said.

The HSE has placed a particular focus on quality improvement and patient safety and “reforming our health services”, Director General Tony O’Brien said in the Executive’s 2015 Annual Report and Financial Statements.

The health service is the largest employer in the State with 120,000 personnel, or 103,884 whole time equivalents (WTEs) employed at the end of December. This represents an increase of 4.6 per cent or 4,557 WTEs overall in the year and compares with an increase or 2,332 WTEs in the same period in 2014. This increase has been driven by the conversion of agency staff to WTEs.

The total HSE expenditure in 2015 was €13.895 billion for the delivery and contracting of health and personal social services. In progressing the HSE Capital Plan 2015, the total expenditure was €388 million, which included capital grants to voluntary agencies of €84.5 million.

The HSE provided funding of €3.621 billion to non-statutory agencies to deliver health and personal social services — acute voluntary hospitals €1.908bn (53%) and non-acute agencies (47%). Almost 1.74m people now have medical cards (38% of the population).

In 2015, the National Ambulance Service responded to 303,502 calls, of which 3,810 were ECHO calls (life-threatening cardiac or respiratory arrest) and 105,061 were DELTA calls (other life-threatening illness or injury). Managing, reviewing and monitoring of ECHO and DELTA response times is a key priority for the HSE. While the HE said response times were improving, this was against a backdrop of increased use of the ambulance service with ECHO calls increasing by 22 per cent and DELTA calls increasing by 10 per cent.

Over one and a half million people received inpatient or day case treatment in acute hospitals last year. Overall, there was an increase of 19,861 patients treated when compared with 2014.

Gary Culliton

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