Social Democrats joint leader Róisín Shortall TD has welcomed the announcement that Mr Donal de Buitléir will chair an expert group to examine the impact of separating private practice from the public hospital system, as recommended in the Sláintecare health reform plan.

Deputy Shortall, who chaired the cross-party Oireachtas committee which produced the Sláintecare report, said:

“I very much welcome the announcement this evening by Minister for Health Simon Harris that the cabinet has agreed that Mr de Buitléir will chair an expert group to examine the impact of separating private practice from the public health system.

“Mr de Buitlier brings enormous experience to the role and I look forward to learning more about the terms of reference of the expert group, which must be enabled to carry out its work with full independence in the public interest.

“The separation of the public and private health systems is core to the Sláintecare vision of a properly functioning national health service that treats everyone promptly and on the basis of medical need, not ability to pay.”

Deputy Shortall added:

“I also welcome the Minister’s announcement that the cabinet has agreed to start the ball rolling in relation to two other key recommendations in the Sláintecare plan. A public consultation starting next month will examine how better to align community and hospital structures so that greater integration of services can be achieved, as well as better value for money.

“The third issue which today’s cabinet meeting made progress on relates to steps to address the weak corporate governance structure of the HSE. This was caused by the last government’s decision to abolish its independent oversight board. It is very reassuring to learn that the Minister plans to bring forward legislation to put in place a new performance and oversight board for the HSE next year.”

ENDS

13 October 2017