Sunday 24 March 2019

HSE will have to be 'more accountable' after rules revamp


Health Minister Simon Harris. Photo: Arthur Carron
Health Minister Simon Harris. Photo: Arthur Carron
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

The revamped HSE will aim for more accountability according to proposed legislation to come before the Oireachtas health committee today.

The Health Service Executive (Governance) Bill 2018 will see the return of a HSE board and the appointment of a chief executive.

The last board was abolished by former Health Minister James Reilly and since then the HSE has been headed by a director-general.

Under the overhaul, the HSE chief executive will be accountable to the board, and the board to the Health Minister for the performance of its functions.

Health Minister Simon Harris has already announced eight new appointees to the board on an administrative basis, chaired by Dublin-born UK charity chief Ciarán Devane.

However, Fianna Fáil spokesman on health Stephen Donnelly said there needs to be wider representation.

He is due to propose that the board include a patients' advocate, two clinical experts and one financial expert.

Priority issues for the new HSE board include developing and implementing an effective performance management and accountability system in the HSE, as well as creating a plan for building public trust and confidence in the HSE and wider health service.

The minister has secured Cabinet approval to bring forward a number of amendments to the bill.

One is a requirement for the minister to give a three-year strategic direction statement to the HSE board, to inform the preparation by the HSE of its three-year corporate plan, to be supplemented by yearly statements of priorities.

Another is to designate specific functions to the board and the chief executive, with a focus on performance and accountability.

The amendments will also require the board to establish arrangements for managing the chief executive's performance.

The HSE is currently searching for a new chief executive following the stepping down of former director-general Tony O'Brien.

Irish Independent

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