I propose to take Questions Nos. 374 and 390 together.
In August 2018, I published the Sláintecare Implementation Strategy which provides the framework within which a system-wide health reform programme will be advanced. The Strategy contains specific commitments in relation to improving governance and accountability across the health service.
As set out in the Implementation Strategy, I am committed to the development of a new system of health structures and governance comprising a leaner national centre with responsibility for national planning, strategy and standard setting, complemented by regional integrated care organisations with responsibility for the planning and delivery of services at a regional level.
As the Deputies will be aware, administrative regional structures have been established in recent years. 9 Community Healthcare Organisations (CHOs) and 7 Hospital Groups are now in place to plan and deliver community and acute care services respectively. These structures are not geographically aligned and there is broad consensus that having separate structures for acute and community care impedes the development of a more integrated health service as envisaged under the Sláintecare programme.
As a first step in the development of the new system of health structures to support an integrated care approach, and in line with the recommendations of the report of the cross-party Oireachtas Committee on the Future of Healthcare, my Department undertook a public consultation regarding the geographical alignment of CHOs and Hospital Groups in 2018. In addition, my Department has carried out detailed analysis work to determine the optimal geographical alignment of CHOs and Hospital Groups, and ultimately to determine the geographical areas of proposed new regional integrated care organisations. My Department is finalising proposals in this regard, and I hope to be in a position to bring proposals to Government shortly.