Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Questions (85)

Michael Moynihan


85. Deputy Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Health the timeline for the implementation of hospital reconfiguration; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30438/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Report on the establishment of Hospital Groups which I launched on 14 May is the most radical and most fundamental modernisation of our health system infrastructure since the State’s foundation. To achieve the most effective high quality outcomes for patients in the most cost efficient manner possible, the reform of the structures and governance for the delivery of hospital services is vital now.

Implementation of the recommendations of the Group’s Report has already commenced. I have personally visited the areas covered by each of the six groups with my Department and the Director General Designate of the HSE, explaining the policy objectives and listening to the questions the staff in each of those areas have about this policy implementation. The reaction has been positive. Professor John Higgins is also carrying out a debriefing exercise, supported by my Department and the HSE, to help ready the hospitals for the impending changes. Since the launch of the Report, he has held approximately 50 meetings with hospitals in this regard.

Implementation of the Report will be overseen by a National Strategic Advisory Group and driven by the HSE through the Hospital Groups Implementation team which is currently being established. I will appoint Chairs of each Group in the next few weeks. Advertisements to seek other board members will be placed in parallel with the process of appointing the Group Chairs and the subsequent appointment of group CEOs and management teams. All appointments will be made based on the competencies the individual brings to the Board in line with the HIQA report on Tallaght.

Within one year of the formation of Hospital Groups, individual groups will be required to submit a strategic plan which will outline its plans for future services within the group area. These strategic plans will determine the way services are provided within each group. The implementation of these plans by each group will then be rigorously reviewed, including all necessary due diligence checks, to see whether they are in a position to advance to Hospital Trust status after the necessary legislation is put in place. We know that the traditional practice of providing as many services as possible in every hospital is neither sustainable nor safe. The formation of acute hospitals into groups, each with its own governance and management, will provide an optimum configuration for hospital services to deliver high-quality, safe patient care in a cost-effective manner.