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The report from the Oireachtas Committee on the Future of Healthcare makes no mention of Hospital Trusts.
Hospital Groups were to evolve into independent Hospital Trusts but it appears the future development of Trusts and legislation to underpin Hospital Groups remains in hiatus.
The report noted a recommendation from the RCSI for legislation to underpin Hospital Groups to enable them to deliver on their potential.
“Good structures drive good outcomes. Enact legislation to underpin the agreed Hospital Groups and reforms to deliver on Group potential to better support patient care and hospital sustainability,” the RCSI submission to the Future of Healthcare Committee stated.
The Sláintecare Report recommended “moving towards a form of regional health resource allocation” with accompanying governance structures to formally connect Hospital Groups and Community Healthcare Organisations (CHOs) for the provision of integrated care, using CHOs and Community Healthcare Networks (CHNs) “as the core unit of health service co-ordination and provision”.
A Department spokesperson told the Medical Independent (MI) that Minister for Health Simon Harris has been clear since he established the Future of Healthcare Committee that he would not advance major structural reforms until it had reported.
A Dáil debate on the report is due to take place this week (22 June) and in the meantime, Hospital Groups will continue to be implemented on an administrative basis, according to the spokesperson.
“The Minister for Health has decided that board vacancies are to be advertised on the State Boards portal www.stateboards.ie operated by the Public Appointments Service (PAS), in line with the arrangements in place for appointments to State Boards, and arrangements to progress this for the remaining [Hospital Group] boards are currently ongoing,” the spokesperson added.