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Several medical and other healthcare professionals took to social media forums to question what they described as lack of medical knowledge on the board when the announcement was made by Minister for Health Simon Harris. There are no appointees from a medical or nursing background.
Prof Anthony Staines, who applied for board membership but was not appointed, told the Medical Independent that while all appointees were very capable and reasonable choices, the only person who had significant knowledge of the health system was healthcare law expert Prof Deirdre Madden.
He noted that other healthcare boards had a “good balance” of members with various expertise but this was not the case with the new HSE board.
“If you look at an engineering company, for instance, you would expect to see an engineer on the board,” Prof Staines said.
“There is nobody on the board that knows the organisation, and that worries me. It shouldn’t be made up of all clinical personnel either, but I think there’s a balance that needs to be struck.”
He maintained that the main issues for the board should be accountability, governance and a patient-centred culture.
The NAGP also released a statement criticising the lack of clinicians on the board.
Meanwhile, GP Dr Mark Murphy, who also applied for a position on the board, has published his application letter on social media.
In it, he outlined several major challenges that he felt should be addressed by the new board, including the failure of some HSE governance structures, poor data collection processes, low staff morale and inadequate media communication.
Dr Murphy said the CervicalCheck controversy demonstrated “what can happen when inappropriate marketing and over-simplistic messaging dominates discourse, creating opportunities for toxic populism”.
He also warned that HSE cost over-runs would continue unless the organisation tackled “populist policies”, which lack any evidence-base.