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Friday 23 June 2017

Console shows 'dysfunctionality' of health service

Tens of millions of euro have been spent trying to solve the issue, yet many of the problems of the dysfunctionality of the health service have little to do with money, said Hiqa chief Phelim Quinn
Tens of millions of euro have been spent trying to solve the issue, yet many of the problems of the dysfunctionality of the health service have little to do with money, said Hiqa chief Phelim Quinn

Greg Harkin

The Chief Executive of the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) Phelim Quinn has cited the Console scandal as an example of a "close your eyes and hope for the best" approach to healthcare in Ireland.

In a rare public address to the MacGill Summer School in Glenties, Co Donegal, Mr Quinn said poor planning and commissioning of services in the HSE was the result of a "dysfunctionality" at the heart of the health service. And Mr Quinn said one of the biggest issues was the lack of accountability. "Mistakes happen, but what is inexcusable is the failure to learn from them and implement agreed change," said the Hiqa boss.

"Tens of millions of euro have been spent trying to solve the issue, yet many of the problems of the dysfunctionality of the health service have little to do with money.

"Recent controversies . . . have highlighted the need for more effective accountability when it comes to the provision of effective services and the transparent, fair and effective use of public money.

"These practices are unacceptable and have starkly highlighted the enduring need for sharper focus on accountability within those organisations charged with procuring, and providing, services for citizens."

Mr Quinn said service providers have a responsibility to deliver a quality, safe service and as such must be held "legally, and morally, responsible" for how public funds are spent.

"The State distributes large sums of money every year to service providers, for example one charity in the news recently [Console] received €1.25m a year in state funding.

"The continued absence of a proper commissioning arrangement may . . . promote the perception that there is an element of close your eyes and hope for the best, whereby money is handed over without seeking evidence as to how it is spent."

Irish Independent

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