The Department of Health has acknowledged that there is a “significant deficit” in financial management systems within the health service, with no single IT system still in place.
A spokesperson said the HSE was working to address this challenge and introducing an integrated financial management system.
It follows a leaked record obtained by the Business Post newspaper in which department officials reportedly expressed concern about what they said was “negligence” in the HSE’s financial reports.
The HSE said the comments did not reflect its engagement with the Department of Health.
Chief Executive Paul Reid described engagement with the Department as “very collaborative” and “certainly challenging,” but said the quotes reported in the newspaper do not reflect ongoing engagement with the Department or the “very strong focus we have on all aspects of finance within the HSE”.
Mr Reid said that before the last 2-3 years the HSE used to run deficits and supplementary budgets of £800m to £1bn, but with new oversight, over the two In recent years, the HSE “came back on budget and with a small surplus”.
‘There are now very tight management controls over overall finance within the HSE,’ he said.
Mr Reid said the HSE needs to recruit 9,500 people each year to ‘stand still’, and this year it has funding to recruit 10,000.
He said the HSE would strive to meet that figure, but described the market as difficult and said there is global demand for healthcare workers.
INMO General Secretary Phil Ni Sheaghdha said the most important thing was that any money allocated for recruitment was spent on recruitment.
“We are constantly struggling to recruit and we are constantly struggling to get enough funds to ensure we have enough positions. So for us, we believe that any argument should never interfere with that, and we encourage both the Department and the HSE to sort it out,” she said.
Mr Reid said the HSE and Department of Health have focused on finance and are producing a dashboard for board meetings each month.