Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has conceded that there were some areas he “wanted to go further” on as part of Budget 2024.

Following criticism of the Department of Health’s budget allocation announced last week, Mr Donnelly told the Dáil that he was “commissioning an in-depth report into the future costs of healthcare”.

There have been reports of rifts within the Government over the budget. It had been suggested that Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael were at odds over how Minister Donnelly and Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe negotiated the budget.

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It is understood that Mr Donnelly had sought €2bn in additional core funding for 2024. He received €800m.

The HSE has advised that it is expecting a budget deficit of €1.5bn this year.

Speaking in the Dáil during a debate on investment in healthcare, Mr Donnelly said he would have liked to go further in Budget 2024.

“The total allocation in the budget is €2bn. About half of that is in recurring funding and about half that in non-recurring funding.

“The waiting list action plan and the urgent care plans are fully funded. There’s staffing fully funded for 162 new acute beds, 22 new ICU beds, which is a big and very welcome increase.

“Full year costs obviously are included for things like the 500,000 more GP cards, the IVF funding and so forth."

Minister Donnelly added: “We're increasing contraception to the age of 31. It is modest.

“Colleagues will be aware I wanted to go further, but I was absolutely determined that it wouldn't just stop at 30.”

Mr Donnelly also admitted that “some areas are not getting the same level of investment next year as they have over the past three years”.

This, he said, was “due primarily to an increase in inflation and patient demand being well in excess of what was forecast last year” and will gobble up €1.1bn.

The Health Minister said that he is aware of discussions on whether the budget allocation was sufficient and said that he noted HSE CEO Bernard Gloster’s contention that it was not.

Following reports in one newspaper saying that Government ministers were angry with Mr Gloster’s public comments about the budget, Minister Donnelly said that he was “completely within his rights to speak” about the pressures facing the HSE.

He later denied suggestions that "there is no respect for money or culture of cost containment in the HSE".

The budget was later criticised by the opposition, with Sinn Féin’s David Cullinane accusing the Government of not funding the health service to even “standstill” next year.

Labour’s Duncan Smith said: “We heard this week from HSE chief executive Bernard Gloster that harm would certainly be caused by the budget allocation to the HSE.

“It was a clear and concise message that this Government needs to make sure patients are properly protected."

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