Monday 19 August 2019

Proposed new health boards will have own budgets

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Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

The proposed shake-up of the HSE, which will see it split into six regional healthcare organisations, includes plans to give each a separate budget.

The proposal, which forms part of the Sláintecare plan for the future of the health service, will be brought to Cabinet by Health Minister Simon Harris today.

The creation of modern-day health boards aims to see more decision-making happen at local level.

It is understood the six organisations, which will have geographical boundaries covering different counties, will have individual budgets based on population and needs.

Currently, healthcare is provided in the community through community healthcare organisations and in hospitals through hospital groups.

They currently have separate budgets but this will change under the new proposals with funding going to the regions.

The aim is to devolve more autonomy to the regions while also improving accountability and governance.

Overhaul

There will be clearer financial and performance accountability to "empower front-line staff and allow for devolved power", Cabinet will be told.

It is the latest overhaul of the HSE, which has seen several changes to its make-up since it was set up 15 years ago.

The new arrangements aim to reduce duplication and there will be a need for fewer staff in some areas to avoid overlap.

A redundancy scheme may be one of the issues which is yet to be looked at.

The proposals for more regional autonomy come as the HSE executive currently appears to be acting in the opposite manner by exercising strict controls over the hiring of staff at community and hospital level.

The clear instruction is that community health organisations and hospitals cannot breach their hiring quota.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation said yesterday this is putting patients at risk.

The union claims a combination of the hiring quotas and delays in the recruitment process means hundreds of full-time and part-time posts have not been filled.

"As a result, services across the country have been compromised. In Wexford, for example, there will be no provision for immunisation from September," it claimed.

Irish Independent

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