Saturday 24 August 2019

HSE to be divided into six new regional health areas in new Sláintecare plan

Changing times: HSE director general Paul Reid. Photo: Tony Gavin
Changing times: HSE director general Paul Reid. Photo: Tony Gavin

Eilish O’Regan

The HSE is to be divided into six new regional health areas with fewer managers and more power given to local decision-makers, Health Minister Simon Harris announced today.

Each will be given more autonomy and its own budget while answering to the HSE executive and board on major issues.

"This will result in clear financial and performance accountability, empower frontline staff and devolve authority from the HSE to the local regions.

"These proposals will help shape the future of healthcare in this country and will give the staff, and more importantly, communities a greater role in the delivery of health," he said.

It will mean an end to the current arrangement which sees hospitals divided into groups and community services separately delivered by community health organisations.

The new system should be in place by 2021 .

The population-based approach to delivering healthcare was set out in Sláintecare, the blueprint for the future of the health service.

The new divisions are:

Area A - North Dublin, Meath, Louth, Cavan and Monaghan.

Area B - Longford, Westmeath, Offaly, Laois, Kildare and parts of Dublin and Wicklow.

Area C - Tipperary South, Waterford, Kilkenny, Carlow, Wexford, Wicklow and part of South Dublin.

Area D - Kerry and Cork.

Area E- Limerick and Tipperary and Clare.

Area F- Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim, Roscommon, Mayo and Galway.

Paul Reid, HSE chief executive said: "The agreement of the six new health regions is an important step in improving our health service, for everyone living in Ireland.

"We want people to be able to get the health services they need, as close to people’s homes as possible, with the majority of care delivered in the community and not in acute hospitals.

"Since I joined the HSE, I have met staff right across the country who work tirelessly to deliver the best care possible, and who have great energy and ambition for constantly improving what we do, and how we do it.

"However, our current structures do not always support them in doing this.  These new integrated health regions provide us with the opportunity to put in place a system that ultimately supports and enables our staff to deliver the best care possible."

The minister said the next step is to begin the co-design process.

Stakeholders in each of the regional health areas will be invited to contribute to the design of the services for their new regions.

Work will also now be undertaken to detail the national and regional organisational design which will be brought back to Government for approval within 12 months. Once established, these six regional bodies will be enabled to plan, fund, manage and deliver integrated care for people in their region.

"This is only one of a number of decisions that need to be taken in relation to the future development of our health service structure. It is important that there is now clarity on the future regional areas and detailed work can start on designing the new regional bodies. I look forward to engaging with key stakeholders, including the public, patients and staff as part of this process."

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