NOTE: By submitting this form and registering with us, you are providing us with permission to store your personal data and the record of your registration. In addition, registration with the Medical Independent includes granting consent for the delivery of that additional professional content and targeted ads, and the cookies required to deliver same. View our Privacy Policy and Cookie Notice for further details.

You can opt out at anytime by visiting our cookie policy page. In line with the provisions of the GDPR, the provision of your personal data is a requirement necessary to enter into a contract. We must advise you at the point of collecting your personal data that it is a required field, and the consequences of not providing the personal data is that we cannot provide this service to you.


Don't have an account? Subscribe

Austerity ‘better than bankruptcy’ – Sec Gen Watt

By Julinda Schroeder - 04th Dec 2023

austerity

The Secretary General of the Department of Health told a recent conference that austerity measures imposed because of the 2008 economic crisis were a better alternative than bankruptcy.

Mr Robert Watt was speaking at the Health Management Institute of Ireland (HMI) Annual Conference in Dublin on 25 October.

The theme of the conference was ‘Leading healthcare integration: Strategies for optimising patient care’.

Mr Watt was responding to a presentation by Prof Steve Thomas (PhD), Edward Kennedy Chair of Health Policy and Management and the Director of Health Policy and Engagement at the School of Medicine, Trinity College Dublin.

Prof Thomas’s talk referred to the negative legacies of the economic crisis for the Irish healthcare system, such as growing waiting lists and staff burnout.

However, Mr Watt told delegates that austerity measures were essential due to the scale of the economic recession. “We did it because we had no choice,” he said.

“We got through [the crisis] because there was a plan and we focused on things that mattered; we did a systematic analysis of issues and focused on that,” he said.

Mr Watt was an Assistant Secretary in the Department of Finance prior to his appointment as Secretary General in the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in 2011. He was appointed to his current role in 2021.

Mr Watt highlighted some of the current challenges faced by the Irish healthcare system.

These included an ageing population and increased demand for health services.

Replying to a question from the floor, Mr Watt stressed the importance of early and continuous prevention of illness and the promotion of healthy ageing.

Another speaker, Mr Damien McCallion, HSE Chief Operations Officer, also referred to the pressures on health services associated with the ageing population.

He said investment was needed in healthcare governance and leadership to facilitate the integration of structures and services. In this regard, Mr McCallion said hospital and community services needed to be aligned. See conference coverage, p14.

Leave a Reply

Latest
Latest Issue
The Medical Independent 20th February
The Medical Independent 20th February 2024

You need to be logged in to access this content. Please login or sign up using the links below.

Most Read