Social Democrats co-leader Róisín Shortall TD today welcomed the announced proposals to restructure the HSE to create six new regional health areas, as recommended in the Sláintecare health reform plan.

Deputy Shortall said:

“This was a key recommendation in the Sláintecare report and was one of the most common issues raised with the all-party Oireachtas Committee on the Future of Healthcare by both patients’ groups and staff.

“Within the present structures, the hospital groups operate in splendid isolation from the community and primary care services. Under those arrangements, it has been impossible to achieve integrated health care, value for money or accountability.

“The intention in Sláintecare is that decision making for providing all health services and managing budgets would be devolved to local regional bodies.

“It is essential that these local bodies are legally responsible and accountable for providing adequate patient-focused services, improving health outcomes and achieving best value for money. It is therefore essential that these structural change proposals are accompanied by new accountability legislation for managers, clinicians and Ministers. This too was a fundamental reform proposed in Sláintecare and accepted by the government.”

Deputy Shortall added:

“Equally, the new structures must be based on a clear and objective method of allocating health resources – both capital and staff – which is transparently based on the needs of the population within each new region.

“The days of Cabinet Ministers deciding where resources are allocated based on political considerations must end. I would hope that no further time is lost and that through the proposed stakeholder engagement that the public and health workers would view this as an important building block for a universal health service where services are based on medical need rather than ability to pay.”

ENDS

17th July 2019