HSE debt hits €94m as 53,000 wait to be seen
on 24/10/2013 00:00:00
It predicts an end-of-year deficit of around €105m that includes a €75m shortfall for hospitals and €25m in local community schemes, including medical cards.
It also emerged that HSE chief Tony O'Brien has told hospitals to take action to cut their deficits by the end of the year. They have not been told to reduce activity levels. Instead, they have been urged to target areas such as overtime and agency costs, as well as discretionary spending.
HSE figures show that St James's Hospital in Dublin has the largest deficit at €10.3m, while St Vincent's University Hospital, also in Dublin, has gone €8.6m over budget. University Hospital Galway has a debt of €7.2m, while Cork University Hospital has a budget over-run of €6m.
Payments from private health insurers, expected to generate €60m for hospitals in the latter half of this year, cannot be collected because of a delay in the implementation of legislation.
Savings under the Haddington Road Agreement that took effect in July have not worked their way through either.
Meanwhile, 45,155 adults and children were waiting for elective procedures in August. A further 7,602 adults were awaiting gastro-intestinal procedures.
There were 374,000 on the out-patient waiting list, of whom 2,236 were waiting four years or more.
Despite this, the HSE says hospitals are aiming to ensure no patient is waiting more than 12 months by the year-end.
Hospitals have put in place a policy whereby patients who do not attend an out-patient appointment will be contacted, along with their GP, and will be removed from the waiting list if there is no response.
The number of people with medical cards increased by 9,185 between January and August, and now stands at 1.8m people.
The report shows that one in 12 children in care had not been allocated a social worker at the end of August.
The HSE's target for 2013 was that all children in care would be allocated social workers.
It says that a significant number of vacancies in social work services continues to be a problem.
The report also shows that 11,324 homecare packages were provided - 4.2% above the 2013 target. However, home help hours, at 6.5m for 45,000 people in their own homes, is 2.7% behind target.
At the end of August, 23,328 people were funded under the Nursing Home Support Scheme and 512 were on the national placement list. According to the report, all applications will proceed within four weeks.