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HSE risk committee concerned about potential funding cuts

The HSE’s risk committee has expressed serious concern about potential risks associated with under-investment in capital funding in equipment and the maintenance of premises as a result of the overspend on the national children’s hospital project, the Medical Independent (MI) can report.

The concerns were outlined in an introductory letter to the committee’s annual report by Chair of the risk committee Dr Sheelah Ryan, which was sent to the Chairperson of the HSE Directorate Ms Anne O’Connor on 8 April 2019, and seen by MI through Freedom of Information legislation.

Dr Ryan wrote that committee members had requested that she raise the matter of funding concerns in the letter.

“While we received and welcomed a high level briefing at the last meeting in relation to the re-profiling of capital funding arising from the increased cost of the new children’s hospital, there is a concern that this will lead to a disproportionate impact on the availability of capital for essential equipment replacement,” according to Dr Ryan.

She added that the committee would welcome the views of the Directorate on the issue.

Dr Ryan also said that the committee feels that the HSE “doesn’t always see the role of the risk committee as a positive feature that could help and support them in their risk-management role and some areas appeared to be overly defensive”.

However, she added that service managers who met and participated in discussions with the committee tended to find the engagement “productive and beneficial”.

Dr Ryan stated that in preparing its work plan for 2019, the committee was conscious of the “likelihood” that there will be a change in governance mid-year.

“We are therefore planning to focus on a limited number of high impact areas for the remainder of our term,” according to Dr Ryan.

She wrote that the committee’s meeting in May would focus primarily on revisiting risks associated with the delivery of acute services with an emphasis on: Access; consultants not on the specialist register; and capital/infrastructural investment.

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