The Health Service Executive (HSE) aims to cut 4,000 staff this year as part of its plans to make savings of €721 million.
The HSE has published its National Service Plan for 2013 and says it is also facing increased costs of €748 million this year.
This is due to increased demand for medical cards and drugs, among others.
€323 million will be cut from Primary care schemes, while the HSE plans to make savings of €106 million euro in pay and flexibility under the Croke Park Deal.
It is also aiming to make further savings in pay of €150 million.
The HSE says it will be impossible to avoid cuts to frontline services due to significantly reduced staff numbers.
The Executive has also set out targets to cut waiting times in elective procedures and appointments.
The HSE says the National Service Plan for 2013 aims to:
- Deliver the maximum level of safe services possible for the reduced funding and employment levels.
- Achieve very substantial cost efficiencies in the Primary Care Reimbursement Service (PCRS) in 2013 to save €383m.
- Expected hospital activity for 2013 is 600,887 in inpatient activity and 830,165 in day cases.
- In addition to the completion of the mental health investment programme of 2012, a further €35 million has also been allocated for year 2 of this investment programme.
Additional funding for programmes
It says an additional €17 million provision has been made in 2013 for the increased costs of cancer drugs as well as a roll out of the colorectal national cancer screening programme and the diabetic retinopathy screening programme.
€20 million will also be invested in primary care services to support the recruitment of prioritised frontline PCT posts and further develop community intervention teams.
It also outlines plans to provide 1.68 million hours of personal assistance (in disability services) which is the same as committed to in the 2012 service plan.
The Service Plan sets out targets for all areas of the health services in 2013.
In relation to hospitals these include:
- No adult will wait more than 8 months for an elective procedure (either inpatient or day case)
- No child will wait more than 20 weeks for an elective procedure (either inpatient or day case)
- No person will wait longer than 52 weeks for an OPD appointment (at the end of November 2012 approx 115,000 people or 30% were waiting more than 12 months).
- No person will wait more than four weeks for an urgent colonoscopy and no person will wait more than 13 weeks following a referral for routine colonoscopy or OGD 95% of all attendees at Emergency Departments will be discharged or admitted within 6 hours of registration.
Director-General Designate of the HSE Tony O'Brien outlines the plan.