Sunday 19 November 2017

Harris health review scheme has failed to remove a single manager from post

Under pressure: Health Minister Simon Harris. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Under pressure: Health Minister Simon Harris. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

No health service manager has been removed from their post under a review that Health Minister Simon Harris claimed would weed out poor performers, the Irish Independent has confirmed.

The Performance and Accountability Framework - a system of assessing managers - has been in place in the HSE since 2015.

It is supposed to measure performance of health managers, including hospital bosses who fail to meet targets in areas such as waiting lists and trolley delays.

However, the HSE has told the Irish Independent that while two performance notices have been issued, no manager has been removed from their post.

These notices, that they could be transferred to other duties, are issued to the manager following a series of steps which included remedial measures.

"These notices specify the reason for the notice, the expectations for improving performance including time frames, accountability arrangements and the consequences where there is insufficient improvement. To date, two formal performance notices have been issued," it said.

It has already emerged that, contrary to the impression given that bad managers would be sacked, this is not possible. Instead they can just be moved to another post and remain on the same rate of pay.

However, the HSE has admitted even the removal-from-post sanction has not been invoked.

Failure

Mr Harris, who is coming under fire for the failure to tackle hospital overcrowding and the worsening state of waiting lists, tried to appease angry backbenchers at a recent Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting by saying that managers would be held to account. He has since been accused of unfairly scapegoating managers and trying to deflect from this Government's failure to see any improvement in some of the health service's areas of worst record.

A spokesman for the HSE said the emphasis in the framework was on recognising good performance and on improving performance at all levels of the health service. "Managers are expected to keep performance under constant review and to proactively identify issues of underperformance and to act upon them promptly to avoid the necessity for escalation within the organisation," they said.

"In some cases, performance issues may be such that they are escalated.Escalation reflects an increased level of concern in relation to performance, which requires more intense focus or action and scrutiny.

"The individual services that are the subject of the escalation are likely to change each month depending on the level of improvement achieved. These are reported by the HSE in its published performance reports."

Irish Independent

Promoted Links

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News