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€10m mooted for new Sláinte Office — report

25 Apr 2017

The Oireachtas Committee on the Future of Healthcare will stress the importance of the adequate resourcing and immediate implementation of its proposed 10-year strategy for a single-tiered, universally accessible, public health service, when its final report is published next month.

“It is vital that there is no gap between the presentation and endorsement of the report and the implementation of its findings,” the document is understood to emphasise.

IMT understands that a section on ‘implementation’ in the leaked report — set to recommend free GP care for all within the next five years and legislation to ensure emergency department waiting times are no longer than four hours — was updated just on April 12, taking on board as much as possible the decisions made by the Committee that week.

The section recommends setting up a Sláinte Implementation Office with all necessary infrastructure in the Taoiseach’s Office by July 2017, whose remit would be to develop a detailed implementation plan.

While acknowledging that some specifics remained to be firmed up and recommendations reconciled with other sections, the Committee said one of that Office’s first tasks would be to devise a detailed project implementation plan based on the long-term strategy for each year of the plan identifying key milestones which could be independently monitored across sectors by December 2017.

The Office should be supplied with appropriate financial resources (up to €10 million for its life cycle) and relevant human resources, the Oireachtas recommends. This would involve identifying and recruiting a senior level (equivalent to Secretary General) “highly independent” Lead Executive with ‘change management experience’ by July and the remainder of the staff by October.

“One of the strongest concerns of the Oireachtas Committee on Future Healthcare is to ensure that this is not just another report on the health sector which is not implemented,” reads the section.

In order to deliver on its terms of reference, the Committee said mechanisms for implementation were as important as the report’s recommendations themselves.

The Committee also recommends that the Minister for Health brief the Dáil on the progress of implementation every four months in the first year, to gain momentum, and every six months thereafter.

The Committee further recommends a return to the set-up whereby the Minister was responsible and accountable for the delivery of healthcare, and for the health system and Department of Health to maintain the ‘Health Vote’ and that a more strategic Department continues its policy development and legislative role.

The Minister should quickly appoint an independent HSE board whose chair would be accountable to him, while the Health Service Director General would report to the board.

The directorate would become a leaner ‘national centre’ with a return to a form of regional health resource allocation and governance.

The post €10m mooted for new Sláinte Office — report appeared first on Irish Medical Times.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in Irish Medical Times