Saturday 24 August 2019

HSE managers will be offered voluntary redundancy as part of regional reforms

Health plan: New HSE chief executive Paul Reid will be able to reshape his management. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Health plan: New HSE chief executive Paul Reid will be able to reshape his management. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Hugh O'Connell

Hugh O'Connell

Health Service Executive managers will be offered voluntary redundancies as part of a new plan to be approved by Government.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said new HSE boss Paul Reid would be given Government approval to roll out the scheme to allow him to "reshape" the management of the executive as part of ongoing reforms.

"What there won't be is compulsory redundancies and we have an agreement with the public-sector unions that there won't be compulsory redundancies in the public service, but there certainly can be voluntary redundancies as part of the restructuring," he added.

Mr Varadkar said Garda Commissioner Drew Harris had been told that in order to do a good job he would have to be able to bring in his own team.

As part of that, Mr Harris was given approval for a Garda voluntary redundancy scheme.

He continued: "We said the same to Paul Reid, who's the new CEO of the HSE, that the Government will approve in principle - we have to do the detail - voluntary redundancy schemes so that he can reshape the management of the HSE.

"So I would anticipate there being voluntary redundancies but not compulsory ones."

In a wide-ranging discussion on health at the MacGill Summer School in Glenties, Co Donegal, Mr Varadkar said the one thing he would like to change about the sector was to make it "less political".

He said healthcare in Ireland was "much more politicised" than in other countries and this often meant problems in the health service were escalated to political level and then didn't get solved.

He said ministers were often blamed for issues that arose, including individual cases.

However, he said responsibility for things going wrong often lay with the health service itself.

"I remember saying to one of my radiologist friends who was heading into work a few weeks ago, I said to him: 'Try to not make any mistakes because if you do it will end up in court and somehow I'll get the blame'.

"And that is not the norm in other countries for whoever the minister is of the day to get the personal blame for everything that goes wrong in the health service and allows other people to evade their responsibilities," he said.

Mr Varadkar said there were decisions that politicians needed to make in relation to health and they were the big policy decisions, rather than operational ones.

He said the six new regional health bodies that were announced recently were an example of where the Government had to resist political interference.

"That was done totally based on population health analysis, that was totally objective by [Sláintecare executive director] Laura Magahy, by [chair] Professor [Tom] Keane and there was loads of political lobbying to move those boundaries and we said no," he said.

Irish Independent

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