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New blanket ban on health recruitment
[Posted: Thu 14/07/2011 by Niall Hunter, Editor www.irishhealth.com]
The HSE has imposed further restrictions on the hiring of replacement staff, amounting to an almost complete ban on any recruitment, in a bid to tackle its spiralling deficit.
The move is likely to lead to further restrictions in services and to strong opposition from health unions.
The HSE's latest figures show hospitals have run up deficits of €120 million to the end of May.
The health executive is planning major cuts in a bid in a bid to prevent a financial meltdown.
In another crisis move to cut its costs, the HSE says it will remove some additional agency staff already hired.
Its latest performance report says the total health service deficit now stands at €170 million, with hospital spending spiralling way beyond budgets.
The HSE says while it currently has capacity within its employment levels to recruit staff exempt from the current recruitment freeze, introduced in March 2009, 'these posts are not affordable.'
According to the report, based on end-of-May figures, pay is contributing significantly to the overall deficit.
Recruitment of staff grades exempt from the current recruitment moratorium is contributing to pay growth, the report says.
The report states that further staff recruitment restrictions are now being put in place.
"A decision has been taken to pause current recruitment except for critical vacancies, given the scale of financial challenge visible," the HSE said.
Hospitals' financial deficits have grown to €120 million, according to the performance report. The deficit of Limerick Regional Hospital alone is €14 million.
Other hospitals are also running up significant deficits, with Tallaght €7 million in the red, St Vincent's in Dublin €6 million in arrears and Beaumont overspending by more than €5 million. Cork University Hospital's deficit is €7 million.
The report says it is clear that some hospitals will run into serious cash flow problems if they do not take significant measures to bring expenditure down in the second half of the year.
Hospital deficits are being exacerbated by shortfalls in income billing against target and in some hospitals activity levels are up considerably compared with last year, the HSE said.
The HSE is also reporting major overruns in its primary care and childcare service spend.
The report says the problem of agency cost associated with junior doctors and therapy grades has disimproved. "It is still a considerable cost increase which we cannot afford."
The HSE says it will reduce agency staff expenditure to 2010 levels or below. This will include issuing specific instructions to remove additional agency staff hired in therapy and allied grades.
The Fair Deal scheme is showing a deficit of €15 million in the year to date, the HSE said. "It is expected that this deficit will be eliminated through the provision of some additional funding and increased charges as announced by the Minister together with the on-going implementation of the controls in place in the scheme," the report states.
The report also warns there is no financial provision for an expected significant increase in staff retirements later this year, arising from staff wanting to avail of tax benefits if they retire before March 2012.
Other measures being planned include:
* The children and families service is to implement an action plan to address the budget overrun. "National placement panels are being put in place to monitor the use of private services with the emphasis on utilising all HSE funded-beds in the first instance."
* HSE says it will continue to seek cost reduction in PCRS (primary care reimbursement scheme) and will pursue the €58 milliion reduction in the scheme's budget and delays in implementing professional fee reductions with the Department of Health. These are the planned further fee cuts for professionals such as GPs and dentists who provide contracted State services.
* "Activity will be brought back to plan in locations where service plan targets are being exceeded. This particularly relates to hospitals that are exceeding activity levels."
* The controls relating to Fair Deal will remain in place to ensure that expenditure is not exceeded. The scheme is taking on new clients within the limits of the available resources, the HSE says.
The report warns that of deficits currently being run up in childcare and hospitals re not addressed, this will impact on resources available to other areas of care.
The HSE says it is working with the Department of Health on the completion of a comprehensive expenditure review.
|CATHY Posted: 17/07/2011 15:53|
They tend to "freeze" frontline staff and never ever cut the top heavy management at various hospitals and HSE!!! Typical, protect your own and forget the patients-- hospitals are unsafe anyway
If professional competence is necessary for the medical staff, same should be applied for the management staff!!!
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