HSE Publishes Service Plan for 2017

Following approval by the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, TD, the HSE has today, Wednesday 14th  December 2016, published its 2017 National Service Plan

The plan details the delivery of health services that the HSE will provide directly, and through a range of funded agencies, in 2017.

It provides for a total funding level of €13,912m for the delivery of health and social care services in 2017, representing an overall increase of €458.6m (3.4%) when compared to 2016. This includes €36.5m to fund new service developments.

The Plan sets out the type and volume of health and personal social services to be provided in 2017, within the funding available. It also recognises that underpinning all of these actions is the goal of improving the health and wellbeing of the population and of ensuring that the services delivered are safe and of high quality.


Separately, a provision of €439m is available in capital funding in 2017, comprising €384m for building, equipping and furnishing of health facilities, with a further €55m for ICT. 


The provision of €81.3m to expand and develop services includes €9m for the Acute Hospitals Division, €1m for the National Ambulance Service, €12m for Primary Care; €1.5m for Social Inclusion; €15m for Mental Health; €11.8m for Disability Services; €10m for Services for Older People; €20m for PCRS.


A total of €118.1m has been provided for pay rate funding.  This is provided in respect of the growth in pay costs associated with the Lansdowne Road Agreement (LRA), Labour Relations Commission recommendations and other pay pressures.  It is provided to offset the increased cost of employing existing levels of staff and does not allow for an increase in staff numbers.


The HSE will prioritise its requirement to plan for an overall breakeven position by year end.  However, pressures exist in a number of areas and, similar to previous years, it has not been possible to identify a contingency amount that can be held in the event that costs exceed planned activity.  It is therefore not expected that overruns in one area can be offset against surpluses in other areas to any great extent beyond what has already been factored in.


Speaking at the launch of the Service Plan today, Mr Tony O’Brien, HSE Director General noted: “The health service continues to deliver its services in an environment where the population is growing, the number of people seeking to access services is higher than ever before and where public expectations for quality services continue to increase. There will be an ongoing and significant management challenge to balance demands and needs within the funding available to the HSE.”


Pointing to a predicted population increase overall of 0.7% between 2016 and 2017 (with this projected to increase overall by four per cent by 2022), Mr O’Brien stressed that there would be an anticipated rise of 3.7% in those aged 85 years and over.  While noting that growing older in continued good health and independence was the goal for all, the inevitable increase in demands for services and assistance added greater demands and pressures for increased and expanded services.


The Director General noted that as well as setting out the type and volume of services, the Service Plan “outlines the journey the health service is on to improve its services.  We have a workforce of more than 105,000 and I want to acknowledge that their contribution and commitment is at the heart of an effective health service.”


However, the Director General stressed that there were “a number of risks to the successful delivery of the Service Plan.  While every effort will be made to manage these risks, it may not be possible to eliminate them in full and they may impact on planned levels of service delivery or achievement of targeted performance.”


Amongst the priorities identified by the HSE for 2017 are the improvement of the quality and safety of all services. A three year patient safety programme will see the implementation of a revised Integrated Risk Management Policy and the strengthening of accountability.


Within the Acute Hospital Division, an additional 26,881 new presentations to ED are expected in 2017. Recognising the ongoing pressures being experienced in EDs, the HSE will continue to drive the implementation of the ED taskforce plan recommendations in 2017 with a target of 5% improvement in total time patients wait (Patient Experience Time) – aspiring to a 100% compliance level. There will be a further focus on eliminating those waiting over 24 hours before admission.


Other areas of development in 2017 will include improved access to diagnostic services, the opening of the University of Limerick Hospital ED and the extension of opening hours in Smithfield Rapid Access service.


Inpatient discharges are also expected to rise with 12,600 more people expected to be seen. A new 75 bed replacement ward block will be opened in Galway University Hospital, while phase two of a new Acute Medical Assessment Unit will be opened in the Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise.  Services for complex paediatric care at home will be increased next year, while children who are in receipt of domiciliary care allowance with be provided with medical cards, children up to 12 years will be offered a GP visit card.


The HSE will continue to work with the National Treatment Purchase Fund in relation to the allocated funding of €15m aimed at addressing waiting lists, reducing waiting times and providing treatment for those patients waiting longest.


A new National Women and Infants Health Programme will be established in 2017.  This programme will develop an action plan for the implementation of the National Maternity Strategy and provide high level co-ordination of maternity, gynaecology and neonatal services nationally.


In Ireland, one in 10 adults of working age report at least one disability. Volume of demand across all types of services including residential and respite has increased.  In excess of 36% of residential service users are aged 55 years or older.  This has increased from 17% in 1996.  Building on work undertaken to date the NSP 2017 continues to focus on the implementation of the reform programme Transforming Lives.  Specific target areas in 2017 involve an investment of €16.2m in emergency cases to support a total of 395 individuals – 185 in new residential emergency places and 210 in new home support/in home respite for emergency cases.  A total of €10m will be provided to support 1500 school leavers, while €5.5m will enhance home support services through the personal assistant programme.


A €100m capital programme facilitating the planned “Time to Move on from Congregated Settings” will see 223 people moved to community living, with 50 additional homes purchased.  An investment of €45m over three years will support this transition and innovation.

Within mental health services, there will be significant focus on Youth Mental Health in 2017, with improvements in out of hours liaison and seven day responses.


The 2017 HSE National Service Plan can be accessed here.

Last updated on: 14 / 12 / 2016