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Committee hears that services may have to be ‘paused’

By Mindo - 17th Aug 2020

A plan for “pausing” certain services in response to a surge of Covid-19 cases or other crises over the next 18-to-24 months may be necessary, according to the Chair of the HSE’s performance and delivery committee Mr Tim Hynes. The remark was made in a discussion on the HSE’s corporate plan during a meeting of the committee on 8 June, the minutes of which were seen by the Medical Independent. The HSE’s Chief Strategy and Planning Officer (CSO) Mr Dean Sullivan emphasised that finalising the corporate plan in parallel with the Estimates 2021 and preparation of the national service plan 2021 will be “challenging”, in conjunction with Covid-19 and recovery planning.

He advised that the HSE was working towards a submission of a corporate plan, approved by the HSE board, to the Minister for Health by 30 September. The committee discussion then focused on the overall approach to developing the corporate plan and timelines for finalising the document, noting it would need to “accommodate uncertainty within this planning context”.

“The corporate plan will be closely aligned to the recovery planning work and will detail programmes of work to be undertaken, relating to Covid-19 priorities, but also to wider transformation opportunities in line with Sláintecare objectives,” according to the minutes. The change in Government may also impact on the strategic objectives in the corporate plan, it was noted. “The Chair raised the issue of the possibility of a further surge of Covid-19 or other crises arising in the next 18-24 months impacting on provision of services and stated that a plan for pausing certain
services to help deal with these situations may be necessary,” the minutes stated.

Committee member Ms Regina Moran noted that “newer technologies” needed to be part of this planning and should be utilised in an effort to prevent reduction of services and that technology will be of significant assistance in the intelligent reallocating of resources.

“The Chair noted that learning should also be central to this process,” according to the minutes.
“For example, the movement of staff during the crisis should be considered carefully as such engagement would have seemed unlikely, particularly in respect of staff movement across government departments and this should potentially be utilised going forward.”

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