MARYMOUNT Hospice is yet to receive any money from a €2 million funding tranche to be allocated by the Department of Health for 2019.
The delays in receiving the funding have raised concerns at the much-loved Cork hospice, which is under pressure to raise more than €3.5m every year from its own fundraising activities to keep services going.
Information from the Department revealed that €2 million has been set aside in funding this year for both the Cork-based hospice and St Francis’ Hospice in Dublin.
However, due to delays in HSE submissions to draw down the funding, the €2 million has remained untouched.
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin labelled the delays a “disgrace”.
Speaking to The Echo, he said the government’s failure to treat Marymount under Section 39 of the Health Act 2004, which sees some agencies access government funding, has left the Cork hospice stretched for resources.
“We’re now more than halfway through the year and the hospice needed this money at the beginning of the year to plan and staff appropriately.
“It’s unacceptable that the money hasn’t been released yet," he said.
Mr Martin added: “The way that Marymount has been treated for the past number of years is unacceptable.
“The government has not been fair to them.
“Given the fact that Marymount has to fundraise more than €3 million a year for services, it’s crazy that this funding has been allocated but has not been released yet.
“It puts a strain on the overall finances of the hospice and I’m calling on the government to release the money straight away.”
The €2 million in funding is just part of some €112 million in HSE funding for 2019 that is on hold in the Department of Health.
The 2019 HSE service plan said that some €198.5m in development funding was being held by the Department of Health and would be released to the HSE on approval of implementation plans and commencement of specific developments.
However, as it stands, just €86.8 million had been released.
Fianna Fáil Health Spokesperson Stephen Donnelly said:
“In a service strapped for cash, this is deeply concerning.
“It would appear that the HSE has been late in submitting plans,” he added.
The HSE said that the service introduced an “enhanced internal governance structure” for the approval of new development funding, and that this resulted in a delay in the receipt of drawdown submissions from the health service.
“Delayed submissions have now been received or are due to be received shortly and funding will be released in due course,” added the HSE, which said the delay had not “affected the delivery” of services awaiting funding.
The funding yet to be drawn down includes €40 million for primary care scheme changes, €11.5 million for abortion services and €9 million for national screening services.