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Latest Sunday Business Post News
Feb 14, 2022
The Taoiseach has defended the HSE after claims of “sloppiness” in its financial reporting. HSE chief executive Paul Reid also defended the organisation, denying allegations of “fake targets” for hiring staff and that there is a “black hole” in its budget. It comes after the Sunday Business Post reported comments claimed to have been made by officials at the Department of Health at a meeting on January 27 to discuss the health budget oversight group. Over the last two years, there has been record recruitment into the HSE Micheal Martin The Irish premier said on Monday that he had “faith” in the HSE and indicated that the claims do not “reflect reality”. Speaking to reporters, Micheal Martin said that the health service has an “enormous budget”. “And over the last two years, there has been record recruitment into the HSE, quite extraordinary recruitment given the fact that every year people leave the HSE for a variety of reasons. “So the reality is there, in terms of numbers that are now working with the health service. Daily Headlines & Evening Telegraph Newsletter Receive today's headlines directly to your inbox every morning and evening, with our free daily newsletter. Enter email address Sign Up “Over the last two years you’re looking at a net 12,500 extra people working in the health service. What I read, of those transcripts, does not appear to be accurate at all in respect of the reality.” He also said the Government provided extra funding “to help society respond to mental health challenges arising out of Covid-19”. “My own view is that if you look at the extraordinary work undertaken by many people in the HSE, the conversations for me don’t quite reflect the reality on the ground.” While he praised the work of the HSE leadership during the Covid-19 pandemic, Mr Martin added: “We are always looking for reform. We are always looking for improvement, and we’re impatient for further improvement, particularly in terms of bed capacity.” There's very tight management controls of finances overall within the HSE Paul Reid Mr Reid was also quizzed by reporters on the Sunday Business Post story and defended the record of the HSE. He said that on the issue of recruitment it “specifically relates to what we’ve experienced over the past couple of years and what the markets are telling us will be available to recruit this year”. He said the HSE was “striving” to achieve its targets. Mr Reid also defended financial oversight in the health system, saying: “We have a very strong oversight with our board, by the audit and risk committee of our board, jointly with the Department of Health. And they’re two shared issues we’re working on… in terms of assessing if there is any adjustments to be made. “It won’t be in the region of hundreds of millions, if there is any. “If you look what’s happened over the past two or three years, with the new oversight with myself and the board of the HSE, where previously you had been running up deficits and supplementary budgets of 800 million and a billion, the last two years, we returned on budget. “There’s very tight management controls of finances overall within the HSE.” He said the report in the Sunday Business Post failed to reflect “joint engagement” between the HSE and the Department of Health. We have funding for 10,000 people. We will be striving to achieve as close as possible to that Paul Reid “It’s very much collaborative, certainly challenging. But those comments wouldn’t reflect what is our ongoing engagement with the department and doesn’t reflect the very strong focus that we have on all aspects of finance within the HSE.” It was also reported that officials made comments about “dysfunction” and distrust in the health sector. The officials also claimed that a target of recruiting 10,000 staff this year would not be met, and that the updated figure would be 5,500. Asked by reporters whether those targets were achievable, Mr Reid said: “If you look at what we’ve recruited in the past two years, it’s actually well over 30,000 people we’ve recruited. We have to recruit 9,500 people every year just to stay still.” “When we look at the recruitment process for this year coming, we have funding for 10,000 people. We will be striving to achieve as close as possible to that. The reality, as we know what the market is, there’s a big global demand. “So it is challenging to achieve it. But we’re very pleased to have achieved that funding from Government.” The most important thing is making sure that any funding that is allocated for recruitment is spent on recruitment Phil Ni Sheaghdha Earlier, Mr Reid told RTE radio there was no “black hole” in the HSE budget. “I want to make the point, there will be no adjustment of hundreds of millions in our budgets. There is no black hole,” he said. “What is happening is a process that’s ongoing jointly between ourselves and the department, which is an assessment of a potential financial adjustment, and that’s a process that has been initiated by ourselves, the HSE, our audit and risk committee and the board, to look at certain levels of provisions and approvals at the end of the year December 2020. Phil Ni Sheaghdha, general secretary of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, was asked on Monday about the Sunday Business Post report. She said her union would want to see the breakdown of the HSE budget, adding: “For us, the most important thing is making sure that any funding that is allocated for recruitment is spent on recruitment. “We’re constantly struggling to recruit and we’re constantly struggling to get enough funds to ensure we have sufficient posts. “So for us, we believe that any arguments should never interfere with that. And we would encourage both the Department of Health and the HSE to sort it out. “We need more nurses, we need our health services to be in a position to recruit and also to retain, because right now it’s a very difficult place to work and we want to make sure that it’s as good as possible so that people stay to reduce the requirement for overseas recruitment.” Most Read
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