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Government approves HSE Health Regions Implementation Plan

By Reporter - 31st Jul 2023

sexual health strategy

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has announced Cabinet approval for the HSE Health Regions Implementation Plan.

The coordination and delivery of health and social care services along regional lines aims to facilitate more integrated care. It also aims to enable a “coherent population-based approach” to service planning and delivery.

According to the Department, Health Regions will commence operation from February 2024. Further reforms and devolution of authority will take place on a phased basis through 2024 and 2025.

A first step in the transition to Health Regions is the appointment of Regional Executive Officers (REOs). Each REO will be the accountable officer at Health Region level, responsible for the delivery of high-quality, safe, and accessible services for the population of their region. Sanction to proceed with the recruitment of these senior leadership posts has now been approved. The posts are to be advertised within weeks, with salaries linked to the pay under the new public only hospital consultant contract – up to €257,000.

Existing Hospital Groups and Community Healthcare Organisations (CHOs) are already meeting in “regional pods” that are reflective of the Health Region structures, according to the Department. The associated interim HSE senior leadership arrangements have also been stood up.

CHO and Hospital Group management teams will support and report to REOs in early 2024 while the Health Region senior executive teams are being appointed. By the end of 2024, existing Hospital Group and CHO structures will be stood down as new Health Region arrangements are embedded.

Minister Donnelly commented: “This document sets out the pathway and key actions to bring these six new Health Regions to life in the immediate months ahead. This delivers on a Programme for Government priority. The HSE Health Regions Implementation Plan has been developed in partnership with health and social care stakeholders from across the sector, and aims to improve our service’s ability to deliver more joined-up care to people when they need it.”

He added: “While the transition to Health Regions represents a considerable change to organisational structures, it is important to note that structural change is not the primary objective of this reform. These new arrangements aim to improve the health service’s ability to deliver timely, integrated care to patients and service users, planned and funded in line with their needs.”

Mr Bernard Gloster, CEO of the HSE and Co-Chair of the Sláintecare Programme Board, said: “These changes aim to ensure that when we give health services to our citizens that we do it in a joined-up way via GPs, community services, nursing support, social care services and acute hospitals as needed. The idea behind reorganising our structures is to ensure that people experience just one health service, providing whatever care they need at the right time and in the right place. When we talk about ‘integrated care’, this is what we mean.  In line with the introduction of health regions, I am currently finalising plans for a changed ‘HSE centre’ and this will add to the overall improvement in governance and leadership of the health service.”

The HSE Health Regions Implementation Plan can be found at:

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