Slow bill payment costs HSE equivalent of 9,000 medical cards – Naughten

In Health by Denis Naughten

 Medical Card ImageThe HSE’s failure to pay contractors and creditors on time cost the HSE €9.3m last year, money which could have provided  9,000 medical cards. 

Each year thousands of people diagnosed with cancer or other debilitating conditions are pushed from pillar to post by the HSE as they fight for the right to a medical card. Yet at the same time the HSE is forking out €36,000 each day in compensation to contractors and suppliers for failing to pay invoices within 30 days, as required by law.

Since March 2013 the HSE must pay for goods and services within 30 days. If payments are not made within that period, interest and compensation must also be paid to the supplier. 

In the coming weeks the Dáil will be asked to approve additional money for the HSE, some of which will be used to pay compensation to HSE suppliers of goods and services rather than provide front line care to those who get sick and need urgent medical treatment. 

“If we are to a have an effectively run health service then we need to get the basic things right. By paying those who supply goods on time we will save up to €9m each year, which could be directed towards ensuring that people diagnosed with cancer are given a medical card without having to go through lengthy and complicated application process,” stated Denis Naughten. 

“But the key question is how many more anomalies such as this are adding to the day to day costs of running the health service? Costs which would be far better spent improving the health service for all,” concluded Denis Naughten.