HSE budget to increase by more than €500,000

The budget for the HSE is to increase by more than €500,000 next year to €14.5bn.

The HSE is due to reveal its service plan for 2018 later today.

It is expected extra funding will be included for speech and language therapy, personal assistant hours and respite services.

The announcement follows reports that over €100m of the €14.53bn in health funding for next year will be withheld and only released for primary care or social inclusion projects that show evidence of progress.

Some services which may have money held back until they begin or are properly planned for include the drugs strategy.

The changes are part of next year’s HSE service plan. For the first time, it will hold back substantial sums unless projects are progressing sufficiently.

Health Minister Simon Harris brought the plan to the Cabinet yesterday.

Department sources expect it will allow for more spending next year than 2017.

It is understood that there will be increased spending for speech and language therapy, personal assistant hours, and respite services, as well as emergency residential placements.

The increase in services will also include an extra €10m for carer respite services, announced last week. This funding increase is likely to be introduced early next year, with €8m ringfenced for new respite houses across the country and €2m for house-sharing and other services, providing an extra 19,000 respite nights a year for families.

Department sources confirmed that over €100m will be kept back and only released where projects show evidence of commencing or of an implementation plan.

The results-led initiative means money would only go out for projects, such as primary care centres, diagnostics, or GP training when they have met conditions.

Funds will also be held back for social inclusion projects, such as elements in the drugs strategy, said sources.


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