Thursday, 28 September 2017
Department of Health
Health Services Provision
207. To ask the Minister for Health the extent to which a streamlined support service exists throughout the public hospital sector to ensure that consultants have the opportunity to carry out the maximum number of procedures that lack of ancillary facilities such as theatre staff, equipment and theatre space remains available and does not impede progress in this area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41180/17]
To assist it in delivering on its commitments, the HSE has revised and enhanced its Performance and Accountability Framework for 2017. The Framework sets out how the HSE including the national divisions, the hospital groups and individual managers will be held to account for their performance.
It makes explicit the responsibilities of health service managers in the four equally important domains of performance which are: access to services; the quality and safety of those services; doing this within the financial resources available; and effectively harnessing the efforts of the workforce. The emphasis of the Framework is on recognising good performance, improving performance at all levels of the health service and ensuring that individual managers are held to account for their performance.
My Department oversees and monitors the HSE's implementation of its performance accountability framework and monitors implementation of the HSE corporate plan and annual national service plans.
A Capacity Review is currently being undertaken by my Department and will examine both current capacity across the health system including in acute hospitals, primary care and social care, and the drivers of future demand moving to 2030. This review is due to be concluded by the end of 2017 and the findings will feed into decisions regarding future capital expenditure.
My Department is pursuing a range of initiatives to address health service staffing, including the development of a national strategic framework for health workforce planning. The recruitment and retention of medical staff is also a priority for the HSE and the number of consultants employed in the public health service continues to increase. At the end of July 2017 there were 2,892 whole time equivalents, an increase of 105 on the corresponding month in 2016 and 700 in the past decade. There has been an increase of 722 whole time equivalent nurses and midwives in the last year.
The 2017 total Health Budget of €14.6 billion was the highest ever health budget and is enabling both progress towards addressing the challenge of increased demand from a growing and aging population, and the commencement of some significant new developments which will over time deliver real improvements for patients. The increased funding and growth in staffing within our health service are allowing for expansion in service levels and optimum utilisation of facilities.