Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Future of Mental Health Care

Restructuring of Mental Health Services: HSE

1:30 pm

Mr. Dean Sullivan:

I will start and colleagues will come in. I apologise if the statement was not as comprehensive as the Deputy had hoped. It is only the second such committee which I have personally attended. We were told we had a certain number of minutes and in her introductory remarks, the Chair herself asked us to keep our contribution brief. If after the meeting, more information is required, I will be happy to forward it on if it is helpful.

The Deputy asked why the decision was made to restructure. I will rehearse again what the restructuring looks like, and I might have a chance later to revisit the question of its timing. The organisation has restructured at the highest level in having clinical, operations delivery and strategy and planning arms. It is commonly reported and felt by staff in the organisation that one of our challenges is too great a focus on day-to-day delivery of services and fire fighting and not enough focus on medium and long-term planning, prioritisation, needs assessment, identification of inequalities and so on. Notwithstanding that John Meehan and I came into posts last summer, which was the beginning of the new arrangements, the structural changes that have been put in place at the start of this year with Ms O'Connor and Mr. Healy moving into their respective roles was entirely consistent with that. It is to retain absolutely priority in the needs of mental health service users and making sure that we respond to those needs, as well as the needs of other users, but to recognise that that is a very broad agenda and that it might be helpful, certainly as we transition towards an arrangement where greater power is devolved to the provider organisations, to have a clear focus on the strategy and planning side of things and a clear focus on the delivery side of things. That is-----


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