Dáil Éireann - Volume 440 - 29 March, 1994
Written Answers. - Health Boards' Financing.
Miss Quill Miss Quill
259. Miss Quill asked the Minister for Health the amount of overdraft interest approved by him for each health authority for the last year for which completed statistics are available.
Minister for Health (Mr. Howlin) Brendan Howlin
Minister for Health (Mr. Howlin): Under section 33 of the Health Act, 1970,  in respect of health boards, and under the establishment order for health agencies established under the Health Corporate Bodies Act 1961, the approval of the Minister for Health is required to undertake bank borrowings. It is the current practice of my Department to approve bank overdraft limits for these health agencies, such overdraft limits being directly related to the levels of non-capital allocations approved for the period in question.
The matter of overdraft interest incurred by such health agencies depends on the level of facility used within the overall approved limit, and the interest rate applicable within the period. While it is a matter for each health agency to agree the borrowing terms with their respective bankers, it has been possible for my Department to negotiate very favourable rates for such borrowings for health agencies generally. The current rates applicable to health boards and voluntary hospitals is generally the prime rate.
The following table shows the total interest paid in 1993 by each of the major health agencies whose overdraft limit requires the Minister for Health's formal approval.
I should point out to the Deputy that, as a result of the special cash injection of £100 million by the Minister for Finance in the budget, the maximum overdraft levels of health agencies are being reduced to an appropriate level. Health boards overdrafts will be reduced by about one third, and those of other agencies by about a half. This will lead to significant interest savings for all the relevant agencies.
Overdraft Interest Paid during 1993
Dáil Éireann 440 Written Answers. Health Boards' Financing.