I propose to take Questions Nos. 1763 and 1764 together.
Following last week’s announcement of the Government decision approving the six future regional health areas and publication of the map of the regions, my Department will work with the HSE and current Community Healthcare Organisations and Hospital Groups to put in place processes for improved collaboration and integrated performance management at a regional level to ensure benefits of increased integration can be achieved in advance of returning to Government with full reconfiguration proposals. This will include interim changes to current administrative structures, where appropriate.
The new HSE Board and the Chief Executive Officer of the HSE have been given a strong mandate to support Sláintecare implementation, including the transition to new structures and the Department will engage with the HSE leadership at all stages of this process.
There will also be continued engagement with all key stakeholders to ensure that structural changes do not unduly cause disruption and loss of focus on service delivery and the roll-out of the broader reform programme. The proposed changes to health structures are only one element of broader reform plans arising from the Sláintecare report. These proposals must be seen as part of the broader proposals in the 2019 Action Plan to support and develop a better health and social care service based on clinical and service integration, enhanced service capacity and delivery and improved governance, accountability and patient safety arrangements.
Therefore, the focus of Sláintecare reform will continue to be on improving population health and healthcare delivery with revisions to structures being just one task among many, rather than an end in itself.