HSE binned €374 million of out-of-date PPE and obsolete protective suits during Covid-19 pandemic
HSE chiefs binned €374 million worth of out-of-date PPE and obsolete protective suits during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The health service’s chief executive, Paul Reid, is appearing before the first Public Accounts Committee (PAC) meeting of the new Dáil year on Thursday morning.
The CEO will also give an update on the total number of Covid deaths to date - 5,135 to September 8 - a figure which he is expected to describe on Thursday as “a sobering statistic”.
But Mr Reid will primarily be grilled by the Oireachtas’ spending watchdog on the billions of euro spent battling Covid this year.
And the TDs and senators will be quizzing the HSE boss, Mr Reid, and some of his top officials to see if the taxpayer has got value for money during the pandemic.
In his opening statement, seen by the Irish Mirror, Mr Reid will set out the headline numbers on how much Covid has cost the HSE, and by extension, the ordinary taxpayer.
It cost the health service a whopping extra €2.129billion for Covid in 2020, the accounts show.
Mr Reid said in his statement submitted to PAC members: “Included in this charge is a figure of €374m related to the write-down to net realisable value of year-end stocks, including the write-off regarding future obsolescence of protective suits.”
He is expected to give this overall view: “The Covid-19 pandemic has placed significant pressure on funding and expenditure during 2020.
“The HSE’s overall reported income for 2020 of €20.265billion includes once-off net additional funding allocation of €2.329billion, of which €2.129billion was used to cover 2020 COVID-19 costs, with the remaining €200million allocated to Winter Plan funding.”
Sinn Féin TD, Brian Stanley is chairman of the PAC and he said the committee would be drilling down into the detail of the HSE’s spending on Covid costs.
He said: “The Committee is particularly interested in examining how this additional funding was spent in terms of emergency procurement of PPE, ventilators and other equipment needed to save lives as the pandemic took hold.
“We are also interested in examining other spending related to Covid, including testing and tracing, commissioning of additional capacity in private hospitals and consultancy costs.
“The Committee looks forward to engaging with Mr Reid and his colleagues on these matters, as well as hearing updates on the HSE’s Integrated Financial Management and Procurement System.
“Expenditure related to the cyber-attack on the HSE systems earlier this year, including the costs involved in repairing the damage and protecting the HSE from future attacks, is also of interest to the Committee.”