Press Release

Health funding up 9% to prioritise Services for Older People, People with Disabilities, and Cancer Control Strategy

The Minister for Health and Children, Mary Harney T.D., today announced details of the Budget 2008 package for the health services. The Minister said:

“Today’s Budget provides an additional €344m current and €52m capital for the Health Vote Group (HSE, Office of the Minister for Children, Department of Health & Children). This includes:
•€135m for the introduction in 2008 of the new long term residential care scheme – A Fair Deal – and for complementary community support services for older people;
•€50m for services for people with disabilities;
•€29m for cancer services, to bring total new cancer funding in 2008 to €35m; and
•€12m for innovative service delivery projects.”

“This extra funding, combined with the funding in the pre-Budget estimates means the HSE will receive a total underlying increase of almost 9% next year to deliver our public health services.

“This increase is in line with the Budget strategy, to provide a sustainable and significant level of funding for core public services in line with economic circumstances. This is very high by international standards and high by reference to increases in Ireland in the 1990s, for example.”

The gross (current and capital) amounts for the three Health Votes are:
•HSE: €14.931bn
•Office of the Minister for Children: € 0.530bn
•Department of Health and Children: € 0.695bn (incl. NTPF, redress/compensation schemes, HIQA)
•Total €16.156bn

The Minister added, “Today’s Budget reflects the priority which I have given over three years to improving residential and community services for older people. It will cover the cost of the new long term residential care scheme – A Fair Deal – which I announced last year as well as extra Home Care Supports and Home Help hours.

“The Government is also honouring its promise in relation to the multi-annual investment programme for people with disabilities, with a further €50 million investment.

“A top priority is to implement the Cancer Control Strategy. €29 million is being provided for cancer services, which together with the €6 million already provided in the pre-Budget Estimates, means a total of €35 million extra for cancer services in 2008. The detailed distribution of this €35m will be agreed with Professor Tom Keane, the head of the HSE’s National Cancer Control Programme.

“I have always been a strong supporter of innovation. I am providing €12 million to support innovative service delivery projects that will deliver tangible improvements for patients.

“Extra funding is also being provided for additions to the childhood immunisation programme, to cover awards under the Lourdes Hospital redress scheme, for the NTPF, for increases in the early childcare payment and for a number of other specific projects.

“The Government has also agreed to increases in acute hospital charges and in the threshold for the Drug Refund Scheme.”

The Minister said that her Department will now meet the HSE to agree the details of the extra services to be provided under each of these headings.

The allocation to the OMC is being increased to provide an improved level of payment under the Early ChildCare Payment (ECP) and to support the implementation of the National ChildCare Investment Programme (NCIP).

Notes to Editors

The total extra funding announced today amounts to €344m current and €52m capital, a total of €396m, comprising the following:

•€110m for residential care for older people;
•€25m for community services for older people;
•€50m for services for people with a disability;
•€29m for cancer services;
•€18m for immunisation programmes;
•€12m for innovative service delivery projects;
•€10m for the National Treatment Purchase Fund;
•€35m for the Lourdes Redress Scheme;
•€46m for the Early Childcare Payment;
•€9m for Dormant Accounts funding and increases in a number of allowances.

•€25m for the National Childcare Investment Programme;
•€15m for HSE capital investment under the NDP;
•€11m for Dormant Accounts funding and a number of specific projects.

Services for older people:

A Fair Deal: An extra €110m is being provided to cover the extra costs which will arise in 2008 under the new long term residential care scheme – A Fair Deal – which was announced by the Minister last year. The purpose of the new scheme is to equalise the level of State support provided to individuals in public and private nursing homes. It also aims to make private long-term residential care affordable and anxiety-free and to prevent individuals having to sell or mortgage their homes in order to pay for nursing home care. No-one currently in long-term care will be financially disadvantaged by the scheme.

Community services: An extra €25m is being provided to increase the community support services provided for older people. It will allow for increases in the number of Home Care Supports, Home Help hours and Day/Respite places. These services, which have seen major investment in recent years, are designed to help older people to live in their own homes. The policy is to build up sufficient home and community based care so that less than one in twenty people over 65 will need residential care.

Services for people with disabilities

An additional €50m is being provided, on foot of the multi-annual investment programme, to provide extra residential services, new respite places and new day places.

Cancer Services

An extra €35m is being provided, including €6m provided in the pre-Budget Estimates, to support:
•the continued full national roll-out of Breast Check;
•the start of the national cervical screening programme;
•the National Plan for Radiation Oncology, and
•improvements in the organisation and quality of cancer services and the realignment of services into four managed cancer networks and eight cancer centres including research and improved information.

Childhood Immunisation Programmes

An additional €18m is being provided to enable the HSE to roll out the revised Primary Childhood Immunisation Programme. It will provide for the addition of Hepatitis B and pneumococcal vaccines to the Programme. Over 50,000 children are immunised annually under this programme. The additional funding will also enable the HSE to commence a Measles Elimination Programme in line with our commitment to the World Health Organisation.

Lourdes Redress Scheme

A further €35m is being provided to meet the cost of awards under the scheme, including administrative and legal costs. The intention is that all outstanding awards will be paid in 2008.

National Treatment Purchase Fund

The additional €10m for the National Treatment Purchase Fund will allow for the treatment of up to 20,000 in-patients and 8,000 out-patients in 2008. This will help to continue to avoid long waiting times for treatment. The extra funding will also cover the cost of the NTPF’s involvement in the administration of the new long term residential care scheme – A Fair Deal.

Innovative Service Delivery Projects

A special fund of €12m will be established by the HSE to support and encourage innovative service delivery projects. Detailed arrangements governing the operation of the fund will be agreed with the HSE. The intention is that applications for funding from service units within the HSE will be evaluated and, when approved by the Minister, supported from this fund

Patient Charges

The Minister announced increases of 10% in patient charges for acute hospital care from 1 January 2008.This will increase Statutory, A&E and Private / Semi-private accommodation charges. The monthly threshold under the Drugs Payment Scheme will increase from €85 to €90. These measures will yield in the region of €50m in 2008.


An extra €46m is being provided for the Early Childcare Payment (ECP). In line with the commitment given in the Programme for Government to review the rate of the ECP over the course of this term, it has been decided to increase the rate of this payment by 10%, bringing the quarterly payment per child under 6 years, to €275, that is €1,100 in a full year.


The capital provision is being increased by €51.7m.


The additional funding of €27m will enable the provision of additional infrastructural developments to address priority needs within both the Acute Hospital and Primary, Continuing and Community Care pillars.


A further €25m is being provided to support the implementation of the National Childcare Investment Programme, including the provision of additional childcare places in line with the targets set out in the National Development Plan.