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HSE developing ‘public trust and confidence’ plan

The HSE is working with a research company to “understand fully what earns public trust and confidence in the HSE”. It is also engaging “external project management support” to develop a plan for building public trust and confidence.

The Executive is in the initial stages of this work and consultancy spend to date is €72,000.

“When we have established the right measures, we will run a public trust and confidence survey to give us a benchmark so we can track and measure our progress over the coming years,” a spokesperson informed the Medical Independent.

“Using research findings we will be working with our colleagues and patient representatives to identify areas where we need to take actions. By the end of this year, we aim to develop a trust and confidence action plan for the HSE.”

The HSE’s spokesperson outlined that, in 2018, the Minister for Health identified priorities for the new board. One of the priorities was to develop a plan for building public trust and confidence in the HSE and wider health service.

“The HSE board has asked the communications division to work with our colleagues and patient representatives to develop a strategy to build trust and confidence in the HSE.”

Research indicates that trust in an organisation “shapes future behaviour and actions towards it”.

“This is particularly important for the health service. If people have trust and confidence in their health service, they will use its services – for example they will attend for screening, diagnosis, and treatment. This will contribute significantly to population health and wellbeing.

“So we are therefore working to identify what drives and inhibits trust and confidence, how we can regularly measure the levels of trust and confidence and what actions we should take to retain and earn it. This work will support the delivery of the HSE’s corporate plan.”

According to a PowerPoint on the initiative, presented to the board in February, trust and confidence in the health service is also necessary to obtain political backing.

“[Trust and confidence] have an impact on all of our stakeholders, for example those in the political system who are making the crucial decisions to provide the funding and the political will required to drive health service reform. It will therefore help further improve the health service.”

Research showed that trust in the Irish public health service was being maintained, with one in-three people continuing to have a high level of trust, according to the presentation. The percentage expressing a high level of trust had risen
from 16 per cent in February 2020 to 32 per cent in January 2021.

According to the HSE, as of June, public trust levels in the health service were “steady”, with 30 per cent of people reporting high trust levels.

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