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Clinical involvement with HSE board is crucial — incoming Chairperson

By Mindo - 22nd Feb 2019

Professional doctor working at office desk he is using a smartphone healthcare and technology concept

The Chair of the new HSE board has told this newspaper that clinician and medical input will be important to the work of the new board.

Many doctors had raised concerns on social media in recent weeks over the lack of clinician representation on the new HSE board.

However, speaking to the Medical Independent (MI) at the recent National Health Summit in Croke Park, Mr Ciarán Devane, designate Chair of the new HSE board, indicated that the voice of doctors and others will be listened to by the board, possibly through sub-committee structures.

“We will make sure that there is clinical involvement,” Mr Devane told MI.

“Because, of course, there are board committees that will not be just populated by members of the overall board, so we will be making sure there will be clinical involvement.

“When you think of things like clinical governance and patient safety, it’s inconceivable that we would not be engaging with not only with medical clinicians, but with OTs and nurses, etc. We will make sure there is clinical engagement.

“The key skills we needed to add to the HSE are not the clinical skills. Because the clinical skills are there, they are brilliant, they are fantastic and we need to use them. This isn’t going to be about this board here, and everyone else over there. We will make sure it is integrated.”

Under the new Health Service Executive (Governance) Bill 2018, expected to be enacted soon, the board will be the governing body of the HSE and accountable to the Minister for Health for the performance of its functions. The head of the HSE will be accountable to the board. The board has been appointed on an administrative basis until the legislation has passed.
Mr Devane is Chief Executive of the British Council, a £1.2 billion public body with 12,000 staff in 115 countries. He was a member of a board of NHS England from 2012 to 2015 and was also Chief Executive of the UK health charity Macmillan Cancer Support. He was knighted for his services to cancer patients.

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