Minister for Health Dr James Reilly has said the Health Service Executive budget for this year is nearly €1bn less than last year.

Minister Reilly said there had been a saving of €449m on drugs and professional fees.

A moratorium had saved €93m and savings on procurement and non-core pay costs were worth €221m.

Mr Reilly said the early retirement and redundancy scheme had given savings of €123m.

He was addressing the Oireachtas Health Committee on the spending plans for his department.