Mayo General’s budget continues to overrun amid fears of hospital downgrading

The budget for Mayo General Hospital has overrun by more than €2 million for the first seven months of the year, causing fears locally that services will be affected coming into the health service’s busiest time of the year.

The figures released by the HSE West show that out of a budget of €76 million for the year, the Castlebar hospital has already spent €46.253 million, €2.035 million over target.

Local councillor Annie May Reape, a member of the HSE West Regional Forum, expressed concerns that coming into the “most serious and busiest time of the year” there may have to be serious cutbacks at Mayo General Hospital to meet its budget, and she has called on the Health Minister Dr James Reilly to address the situation immediately.

Cllr Reape said it was of “utmost importance” that the elderly and people who require hospital in-patient treatment were looked after.

Castlebar independent councillor Michael Kilcoyne added that with five months to go in the year, if the situation continues, the hospital will be €5 million overspent at a time when demand for services has increased.

It is Cllr Kilcoyne’s understanding that Mayo General is in line for further downgrading with major surgeries to be carried out at Sligo and Galway. “All we will have left in Castlebar is a glorified nursing home,” he told the Mayo Advertiser.

Cllr Kilcoyne has called on the Department of Health to consider a special allocation of approximately €5 million to keep Mayo General running. He said the closure of Roscommon hospital has put increased pressure on Mayo General and with severe over crowding at Galway University Hospital, it is vital now more than ever that services be retained in Mayo.

“There is no way they will have a general hospital every 50 miles,” Cllr Kilcoyne added, pointing out the geographic spread of general hospitals along the western seaboard, including Letterkenny, Sligo, Mayo, Galway, and Limerick. “I understand that at least one will go and maybe two downgraded,” he told the Mayo Advertiser.

A €5 million injection in Mayo General, which would be deemed necessary to maintain Mayo General’s status as a general hospital, would probably be less than the cost of the presidential election, added Cllr Kilcoyne.

The overall budget for health services in Mayo, including local health offices, is overspent by €2.6 million. Of the €231,475 allocated to Mayo, €137 million has already been spent.

However expenditure on local health offices, excluding Mayo General Hospital, is largely on target with the budget for the first seven months of the year of €90.314 million only being overrun by 0.7 per cent (€90.937m ). The annual budget for health offices in Mayo stands at €155.377 million for the year.

While there are budget overruns in Mayo, overall Mayo General Hospital and local health offices in Mayo are performing well financially in comparison with other facilities in the HSE West area.

Net expenditure for the HSE West area of €1,199.7 million is €49.3 million in excess of the budget of €1,150.4 million at the end of July, a 4.3 per cent overrun.

Hospitals in the region are overspending by €46.3 million.

According to the HSE West’s most recent financial statement, income collection remains behind target. Cost containment plans of €33.7 million are being implemented by hospitals and local health offices, and additional income collection and agency cost reduction measure are being pursued.

Net expenditure has reduced by €48.3 million to the end of July 2011 in comparison to the same period last year, and basic pay is forecast to deliver approximately 57 per cent of moratorium and exit scheme reductions. However this is being offset by increases in exempt grades, medical and paramedical, and agency. Other pay cost reductions are being offset by employers PRSI increase, according to the HSE.


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