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The Government has committed to re-introducing a HSE Board following a recommendation in the Sláintecare Report last year, which found that the Executive’s governance structure was “not fit for purpose” and that an independent Board was required.
There have been increasing calls for the reinstatement of a Board in light of the CervicalCheck controversy, which has seen the resignation of Director General (DG) Mr Tony O’Brien. The HSE Board was scrapped in 2011 by then Minister for Health Dr James Reilly.
According to minutes of a HSE Directorate meeting in December, the firm Eversheds Sutherland made a presentation on “learning from culture in the financial services sector” in the context of the establishment of a HSE Board.
Two representatives from Eversheds Sutherland presented their research “in relation to the cultural and behavioural issues that need to be considered in the migration from one Board type (internal Directorate) to another model (external non-executive Board) as proposed in the Sláintecare Report”, outlined the minutes.
The HSE had already raised issues with the Minister for Health “for consideration and review in terms of the make-up of a new HSE Board”, indicated the minutes.
It was agreed that Eversheds Sutherland would provide a report on “legal precedents where similar arrangements might have been made”, which the DG would submit to the Minister.
A Department of Health spokesperson told the Medical Independent (MI): “An independent Board for the HSE is a Sláintecare recommendation and Government policy. This will require legislation and the Minister expects to bring the General Scheme of the Bill to Cabinet and to publish the General Scheme very shortly. As legislation for a HSE Board has widespread support, the Minister hopes to bring the Bill through the Oireachtas this year and have the Board in place as soon as possible.”
The Sláintecare Report said an independent Board and Chair “should be appointed to the HSE at the earliest opportunity, by the Minister, following a selection process through the Public Appointments Service”.