Boards are now in place for six of the seven Hospital Groups, with appointments to the Ireland East Hospital Group and RCSI Hospitals having been made in December.
The vacant positions were filled following competency-based campaigns facilitated by the Public Appointments Service (PAS) for all boards.
“The recruitment process for the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group Board is ongoing and we anticipate that appointments to this board will be made in due course,” a spokesperson for the Department told <strong><em>MI</em></strong>.
The University of Limerick (UL) Hospital Group and the Children’s Hospital Group were the only Groups with functioning boards in place at the beginning of last year.
The process of filling boards has taken much longer than expected, with the Groups originally having been intended to be established on a legislative basis by 2015.
The Department told this newspaper last year that the evolution of the Groups had been delayed as the Government awaited the report of the Oireachtas Committee on the Future of Healthcare.
In recent comments to <strong><em>MI</em></strong>, HIQA CEO Mr Phelim Quinn said the slow development of the Groups resulted in a lack of clarity in terms of accountability.
“Even the levels at which we interact with the HSE, at times we make an assessment or an inspection, whether it be under our infection prevention and control programme, or antimicrobial stewardship programme or in the forthcoming maternity services programme; certainly we interact with people at a hospital level, we sometimes then interact with them at Group level, then sometimes we often have to interact with them at national level,” said Mr Quinn.
“Sometimes it is very, very difficult to actually get a handle on where the accountability sits.”