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National service plan remains under review

A second phase of a review of the HSE National Service Plan (NSP) 2021 – to examine if targets have been impacted by the pandemic and cyberattack – is “under consideration”, this newspaper has been told. The NSP was published on 24 February

On 29 March, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly wrote to HSE board Chair Mr Ciarán Devane regarding the need for a review of the NSP 2021.

In a letter seen by the Medical Independent (MI) following a Freedom of Information request, Minister Donnelly wrote: “I believe that this review should include achievable recalibrated NSP targets for 2021, which will be a vital element in facilitating the performance management process for 2021.”

“These revised targets will allow for meaningful NSP 2021 activity schedules to be produced and the corresponding submission of performance data, which will ensure the accurate measurement, analysis and importantly explanation of any variances in the performance of the health system.”

A HSE spokesperson told MI that “in order to assess the impact of both the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2021 and the cyberattack in May 2021 on strategic programmes, service level targets and operational KPIs [key performance indicators], a review of NSP 2021 based on Q1 [quarter one] activity was undertaken.”

“The aim was to establish progress made during the quarter and to propose, based on the latest data and information available, if revised NSP targets are required.”

Phase one of the review – which examined planned versus actual activity in quarter one was submitted to the Minister in May.

“Phase two of the review focusing on any revised NSP targets, which may be required is still under consideration.”

MI reported in April that the pandemic response, including the vaccination programme, would likely have “an adverse impact” on commitments in the NSP 2021, according to high-level correspondence in January between Mr Devane and Minister Donnelly.

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