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Stephen Donnelly directs HSE to withhold funds from hospitals not signing up to new computer system

New system is aimed at allowing comparisons between hospitals

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has directed the HSE to withhold all capital funding – potentially running into millions of euro – from publicly-funded hospitals that do not sign up to a new computer system designed to allow comparisons to be made between health facilities.

The Minister has signalled that he is looking at a significant policy change for next year which would lead to new development funding for additional posts allocated to hospitals and community health areas that were considered to be using their existing resources, such as theatres, in an efficient manner.

Mr Donnelly is a strong supporter of a new system known as the health performance visibility platform (HPVP). He argued in interviews in recent weeks that it could provide greater transparency in the level of care being provided by different clinical teams in different hospitals for the level of resources they receive.

The Irish Times understands that last week Mr Donnelly told the HSE that he was deeply unhappy that some centres, including a number of voluntary hospitals, which were funded by the State but were run by their own boards had not signed up to data-sharing agreements and engaged with the roll-out of the HPVP programme.


Mr Donnelly formally directed the HSE to withhold capital investment in these hospitals this year until it was confident that they were fully taking part in the programme to introduce the new system.

The HSE did not identify the hospitals that were at risk of losing out on capital funding under the Minister’s directive in a statement released to The Irish Times. It indicated that progress was being made on the implementation of the HPVP programme, and agreement with the remaining hospitals could be made this week.

The HSE has not as yet published its capital plan for this year. In 2023 it received funding of almost €1 billion for the construction and equipping of healthcare facilities under the capital programme.

It is understood the Minister has asked the Department of Health’s new productivity and savings taskforce – established last month following the controversy over budget overruns in 2023 – to look at using the new HPVP to prioritise where development funding should go next year.

It is understood that the aim of any such policy change regarding development funding next year would be to act as an incentive to bring about improved management including by senior clinicians.

The Minister has spoken publicly of the need for what is seen as good operational practices by managers in some areas to be replicated elsewhere.

The HSE said that 20 hospitals already had the system in place. “We are working with the remaining hospitals to conclude the necessary data-sharing agreements with a view to them going live on the system before the end of March 2024.” It said that it expected to have “confirmation of go-live dates for these remaining sites” this week.

The HSE said it had introduced the HPVP programme “to address a gap in the centralised information available to support strategic and operational performance monitoring across acute hospitals”. It described the platform as an IT system for “acute hospital information management” that would produce “timely and meaningful reports and insights” to support hospitals in “daily and longer-term decision-making” and which will “inform their planning of improvements at hospital level”.

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Martin Wall

Martin Wall

Martin Wall is the former Washington Correspondent of The Irish Times. He was previously industry correspondent