The pandemic response, including the vaccination programme, will likely have “an adverse impact” on commitments in the HSE National Service Plan 2021, according to high-level correspondence. The plan, which was published in late February, may need to be reviewed this month due to fears that “planned levels of activity, performance and reform” will not be met.
In a letter on 15 January to Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly, the Chair of the HSE board Mr Ciarán Devane stated: “It is very likely that the continuing need to respond to the pandemic – including the delivery of the vaccination programme – will have an adverse impact on the HSE’s ability to deliver fully all the planned levels of activity, performance and reform set out in the enclosed NSP 2021 in their entirety.”
“The extent of this impact is difficult to predict. We will keep the position under close review and I intend to write to you again formally in April 2021 in this regard to ensure both yourself and your officials are appropriately advised.”
Replying on 12 February, Minister Donnelly approved the NSP and noted “the emphasis and commitment for more enhanced performance reporting, which is welcome”.
The Minister asked that HSE officials engage with the Department’s Sláintecare Programme Implementation Office to report progress on the implementation of the Capacity Report 2018. The correspondence was obtained by the Medical Independent following a Freedom of Information request.