Minister for Health welcomes the National Service Plan 2014
Maintaining frontline services, patient safety and health reform key priorities
The Minister for Health, Dr James Reilly TD, today (Wednesday 18 December) welcomed the publication of the Health Service National Service Plan 2014. The plan sets out the type and volume of health and social services to be provided in the course of 2014.
“In recent years the women and men who deliver our health services have managed to maintain and improve services despite significant reductions in funding” the Minister said, “It has been an enormous challenge against the backdrop of an ever increasing demand for services. 2014 will be the most challenging year yet as we seek to maintain services and make over €600 million in savings. At my request, in the National Service Plan the HSE have elevated the need for monitoring and improving safety across the services. Again at my request, in a first for the Service Plan, the HSE has set the implementation of new reforms at the heart of planning. The reforms, from the establishment of the Patient Safety Agency to the roll out of Money Follows the Patient, will put in place the necessary building blocks for the post HSE environment when we introduce Universal Health Insurance”.
Continuing the Minister said “I welcome the provision by Government of an additional €47 million for the health services as part of the Revised Estimates. This money has been provided due to savings as a result of a recovery in the labour market and will ease some of the pressure for savings in the health service.” The Budget savings target of €113 million through probity has also been significantly reduced following the inter-Departmental validation exercise the Minister sought as part of Budget 2014. The target savings for medical card probity is now €23m.
The Minister added, “As part of the plan, we will put in place free GP care for children aged five and under in 2014 – additional funding of €37 million has been provided for this measure. A range of other specific priority areas will be addressed, at my request, including bilateral cochlear implants and the rollout of diabetic retinopathy screening and treatment”.
“Despite the challenges we face, the plan is focussed on delivering health reform”, the Minister said, “The plan deals with the continued implementation of Hospital Groups, the phased implementation of Money Follows the Patient, the continued implementation of the Smaller Hospitals Framework, the realignment of services for older people towards a community centred approach, and the establishment of a new Patient Safety Agency on an administrative basis.”
The Minister concluded by acknowledging the hard work and commitment of staff across the health services. “We have made significant progress so far in implementing reform and maintaining services. I am confident that we can continue to deliver on these priorities through 2014 and beyond, thanks to the hard work and dedication of the staff of the health services.”
Notes for Editors
- The Health Service Executive is now required to achieve savings measures of €619 million next year in order to remain within its 2014 expenditure ceiling. The savings target has reduced from €666 million to €619 million as a consequence of an additional €47 million in funding allocated to the HSE Vote for next year in the Revised Estimates Volume.
- The main savings targets included in the €619 million figure are pay and pay related savings of €268 million, reductions in pharmaceutical prices and expenditures and general practitioner fees of €172 million, savings of €25 million due to changes to the eligibility criteria for a medical card for persons aged 70 years; €20 million in savings as a result of the full-year effect of income and probity measures that were implemented during 2013, and additional revenue of €30 million as a result of charging for services to private patients in public hospitals.
- The target for medical card probity savings (including the full year effect of 2013 measures) in the 2014 Service Plan has been adjusted down from €133 million to €23 million. As a consequence of this savings adjustment additional savings measures of €63 million remain to be identified. It has been agreed that these savings will be identified by way of a process that will be undertaken by the Departments of An Taoiseach, Health and Public Expenditure and Reform.