The boards of six Hospital Groups were stood down in late 2021, the Department of Health has confirmed.
This move was signalled late last year in anticipation of the establishment of six regional health areas (RHAs). The Department of Health has committed to making RHAs fully operational from 2024.
Earlier this month, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly announced Government approval for “the next steps for the implementation” of RHAs.
The Government decision “will facilitate the introduction of one population-based budget per region and a clearly identifiable head of health and social care per region, operating as part of a strengthened national health and social care service”.
Government also agreed that existing Hospital Groups and Community Healthcare Organisations “will eventually be stood down to facilitate RHA implementation, as recommended by the Oireachtas committee on the future of healthcare Sláintecare report”.
The six Hospital Groups are RCSI Hospitals, Ireland East Hospital Group, Dublin Midlands Hospital Group, South/South West Hospital Group, Saolta University Health Care Group and University of Limerick Hospitals.
The terms of office of their board members expired in November and December, according to a Department spokesperson. This does not include Children’s Health Ireland which is established as a legal entity.
“The Hospital Group boards were administrative boards and had no legal accountability in relation to the Hospital Groups or the Hospital Groups CEOs, whose line of accountability is to the HSE National Director of Acute Operations,” stated the Department spokesperson.
“Since the Hospital Groups were established on an administrative basis, the HSE corporate governance landscape has changed with the enactment of the Health Service Executive (Governance) Act 2019.
“The HSE is now governed by a board, which is accountable to the Minister for Health, for the performance of its functions, and this ensures a robust system of governance is maintained.”