While developing a single-tier public hospital system is one of the most important reforms envisaged in Sláintecare, it is clear that such a step is complex, would take time and would cost money.
The recommendations in the Report of the Independent Review Group raised a number of legal, financial, policy and operational implications that required further consideration. These included policy questions beyond the terms of reference of the Independent Review Group, for example the opportunities for broader Sláintecare reforms offered by the development of a single-tier public hospital system. My Department officials also held discussions with officials in other relevant Government Departments, including the Department of the Taoiseach and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.
I published the Report of the Independent Review Group on 26 August 2019 in order to stimulate public debate and as a basis for consulting with key stakeholders.
The Government has not yet made a decision in relation to the recommendations of the Independent Review Group. I intend to return to Government with proposals to respond to the recommendations in the Report, as soon as consideration with relevant Government Departments of the main issues has concluded.
Ultimately, any decisions on expenditure issues which have been raised by the recommendations in the Report, including remuneration issues, would have to be made in the context of the wider implementation of Sláintecare and of the Public Service Stability Agreement 2018-2020.