Tuesday, 14 February 2012
Department of Health
Health Service Executive
Question 676: To ask the Minister for Health if he will confirm and elaborate on his plans to abolish the Health Service Executive by the end of this year; if he will clarify specifically the functional areas of responsibility and authority that will reside with his Department following the abolition of the entity; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7899/12]
Question 677: To ask the Minister for Health his plans for Health Service Executive employees following the planned abolition of the body at the end of this year, specifically in relation to issues of employee retention, redundancy pacakages, or any requirement there might be to re-apply to a new organisation which may replace the HSE; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7900/12]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 676 and 677 together.
My Department has primary responsibility for advising me on issues relating to national policy development and review, while the HSE has responsibility for the delivery of health and personal social services. In line with the Programme for Government commitments, a series of legislative changes are planned to bring about radical reform of the health services which will see the introduction of Universal Health Insurance (UHI). As a step towards achieving this goal, new governance arrangements will be made for the HSE, through legislation to abolish the Board structure and to replace the Board structure with a directorate structure. These transitional governance arrangements will be given effect to by legislation which will be advanced as a priority. There will also be strengthened accountability arrangements for the HSE.
New administrative arrangements will be put in place in tandem with the proposed transitional legal structures. The new arrangements will provide clarity as regards the delivery of the relevant services under the responsibility of the Directors and greater financial transparency and accountability in assessing those services. The Directorate team will be tasked with running the health services and preparing for the transformation required in the move to UHI. These arrangements constitute a step in the process of transformation which will, over time, see the HSE ceasing to exist, as the health reform programme advances. The dissolution of the HSE as a legal entity will be a complex task, potentially requiring sequential legislation to provide for the HSE's functions to move to other bodies as the health reform programme advances. Such future legislation will also include appropriate provisions for the transfer of HSE employees to these bodies.
Other organisational reform priorities this year include the relocation of the National Clinical Care Programmes and the National Cancer Control Programme to my Department and the establishment of a Programme Management Office in the Department to drive the implementation of this wide ranging process of reform.