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Department officials in talks with HSE over leadership changes

Last month, the media reported on a leaked memo from HSE Director General Mr Tony O’ Brien to staff regarding changes to be made to the Executive’s leadership team.

The Medical Independent (MI) has been told that the Department is currently in talks with the HSE about such changes.

At a recent Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health meeting (29 September) with Minister for Health Simon Harris, Fine Gael Deputy Kate O’Connell said she would  “strongly advise” against changes in the HSE leadership structure before the publication of the 10-year plan from the Oireachtas Committee on the Future of Healthcare. 

“It would be regressive if the HSE went about fixing itself without the involvement of the Committee on the Future of Healthcare because that is the purpose behind the establishment of the Committee,” said Deputy O’Connell, who was supported on this point by Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Health Deputy Louise O’Reilly. 

In response Minister Harris said he took “very seriously” the point made by Deputy O’Connell. “The Committee has heard me make the point already that I have ideas about things I would like to see changed and improved in terms of structure,” said Minister Harris.  

“I have resisted doing so out of respect for the fact that we are trying to do something that we have never done before in this country – a 10-year plan with buy-in from all of us. It is important that we do this work and I echo and reinforce that message with the HSE.”

A spokesperson for the Department told MI, that the discussion over changes to HSE structures would be “mindful” of the work of the Committee on the Future of Healthcare.

 “Departmental officials are currently engaging with the [HSE] Director General in relation to the composition and roles of the HSE senior management team including the implications any reorganisation has for the future membership of the Directorate in the context of the overall Health Reform Programme,” said a Department spokesperson.

At the recent IHCA 2016 AGM a number of speakers, including the Association’s Secretary General Mr Martin Varley, criticised the HSE for not having a board of management, claiming that this is needed for good governance.

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