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MI recently revealed that board members were in place for one out of seven Hospital Groups (Children’s Hospital Group). Appointments to Saolta University Health Care Group and UL Hospitals Group expired at the end of October 2016.
“It is important to fill the boards, but it is important that we do it in a transparent way and not like, perhaps, the way boards were filled in the past and that is why we will use the Public Appointments Service,” Minister Harris told MI. “That does take a bit of time but it is the way to do it right. That process is underway.”
The appointment of a new Chair for Saolta is being finalised and the Minister said he will shortly be making appointments to the board.
Minister Harris said that establishing the Groups on a statutory basis would be premature in advance of the report from the Oireachtas Committee on the Future of Healthcare. The Committee is due to present a final report to the Dáil by 23 January 2017. However, as recently revealed by MI, the Committee may request an extension.
“I do intend to fill all of the Hospital Group boards, but what I don’t intend to do, because I think it would be short-sighted and foolish, is to go ahead and rush legislation through on these when I have asked Oireachtas colleagues from all parties to come up with a shared view,” he said.
“It would be a bit disingenuous if I was to go ahead and plough on with my own structural reform whilst awaiting their report. But once their report lands… I do intend to get on with the job of putting in place those structures on a statutory footing.”