A new “technical group” to help provide “clear, timely financial and activity information” is being established by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER), the Department of Health (DoH), and the HSE, this newspaper understands.
According to the minutes of the January meeting of the health budget oversight group (HBOG), the need for a new group was discussed under the topic of “monthly reporting”.
“All parties agreed the importance of providing clear, timely financial and activity information to facilitate oversight,” read minutes of the meeting.
“While the immediate focus is on addressing and resolving short-term issues, the potential for the establishment of a tripartite technical working group was noted.
“Consideration would be given to the establishment of a technical working group in line with the principles set out in previous correspondence once a terms of reference (TOR) was circulated by the DoH. It was noted that the focus of HBOG is on a strategic oversight role.”
A spokesperson for DPER told the Medical Independent (MI) that “it engages with the DoH on an ongoing basis, including through the HBOG, in relation to health expenditure and monitoring”.
“The potential establishment of a technical working group separate to HBOG has been raised.”
A spokesperson for the DoH told MI that the formal TOR are still to be developed, “but the initial discussions, which have been positive and constructive, have focussed on the financial processes/reporting within the HSE as a support to the DoH’s financial reporting obligations.”
“It is envisaged that in the near future the group will be established on a more formal basis and will include representation from DPER in due course also.”
The minutes of the January meeting also noted that “DPER acknowledged the challenges faced and addressed in 2021, including the ongoing challenge of Covid exacerbated by the cyberattack, and the good levels of cooperation between DPER, DoH, and the HSE”.
“Hope was expressed that the country is entering a new phase of the pandemic and that HBOG can return to a more strategic approach.”