Press Release

Budget Delivers Further Funding Boost for Health

Additional €428m will help reduce waiting times and improve key services

People with Disabilities, Older People, Child Care, GP Cover Targeted

The further €428m allocated to health in today’s Budget will help deliver a further major boost for health services according to Minister for Health and Children, Micheál Martin. When compared with Budget Day last year, the increase is almost 22% or €1,462.824m. The Minister said that this extra funding would in particular help to reduce waiting lists, extend 24-hour GP cover nationwide and expand services for people with disabilities and older people.

The increase in funding demonstrates the continuing commitment by this Government to resource the health services with increases well beyond any funding levels provided by previous governments. Indeed, the overall increase for the health services since this Government came to power in 1997 now amounts to 125%.

The main features of the estimates include:

  • Bed Capacity (€40m) – to resource the first phase of the Review of Bed Capacity so that an extra 450 public beds are available next year and 200 beds in the private sector are also utilised for public patients.
  • Treatment Purchase Fund (€30m) – this Fund will be used to purchase treatment from private hospitals in Ireland, and from international providers. It may also make use of any capacity within public hospitals to arrange treatment for patients.
  • People with Intellectual Disabilities and Autism (Total€39m, including €14m already in Estimates) -this will provide for the further development of services to persons with an intellectual disability and those with autism. This funding will provide for the following new service developments:
  • over 100 new residential places;
  • 75 new respite places;
  • 600 new day places;
  • the further enhancement of health related support services for children with an intellectual disability or autism;
  • the continuation of the programme to transfer persons with an intellectual disability or autism from psychiatric hospitals and other inappropriate placements;
  • the further enhancement of specialist support services.
  • Funding for People with Physical Disabilities and Training (€47m, including €22m included in Estimates) – the following developments will be resourced for 2002;
  • development of home support services (including personal assistance services);
  • development of therapy services;
  • to provide up to 100 additional posts as recommended in the sector’s service audit;
  • 500 rehabilitative training places; and
  • 15 guidance/assessment staff in the health boards in the area of rehabilitative training.
  • Older People (€81m, including €36m included in Estimates) – the additional allocation of funds to services for older people will be used for the following areas – enhancement of the Nursing Home Subvention Scheme, provision of additional Home Helps, improving community based services and services provided in community hospitals and day care centres, additional respite care and support for carers.
  • GP Co-ops and Primary Care Model including ICT (€19.6m, including €4.6m included in Estimates) – this funding will allow for the further development of GP Co-operatives during 2002. The development of these co-operatives to provide out of hours services is an important service development – particularly in rural areas where accessing a GP outside normal hours can be difficult. This funding will allow for the further development of primary care during 2002 in line with the recently published “Primary Care – A New Direction”.
  • Child Care (€45m, including €35m included in Estimates) – this will develop the care and protection initiatives provided for in the Children Act, 2001 and continue with the implementation of the “Youth Homelessness Strategy“.
  • Health Allowances (€6m) – increases in line with those for social welfare recipients are being implemented from January 2002.
  • €70m (including €51m included in estimates) is being made available to resource continuing developments in the areas of cancer, cardiovascular disease and mental health. In particular it is intended to continue to develop palliative care services in line with the recommendations of the National Advisory Committee Report.

An additional €42.5m capital has been made available to support the implementation of the new Health Strategy and other developments.

The following table summarises the additional resources, including capital, for the main programmes in 2002.

Service Budget Day Estimates Total
€m €m €m
Acute Hospitals 100 93.6 193.6
Disabilities, Autism, Mental Health & Palliative Care 59 55.0 114.0
Older People 52 36.0 88.0
Child Care 10 35.0 45.0
Primary Care 20 50.9 70.9

Finally, the Minister welcomes the establishment by the Government of an independent commission to examine the financial management and controls in the health services. This work will follow on from the Value for Money Audit recently completed by Deloitte and Touche and will help to underpin the commitment given in the new Health Strategy “Quality and Fairness” to ensure that funding has the greatest impact on public services. This Budget confirms the continued commitment of Government to significantly increasing health funding and the independent commission will play an important role in the programme of development and reform which we are implementing.