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Risk to HSE’s reputation if audit recommendations not implemented

The continued non-implementation of internal audit recommendations has the ability to inflict “significant reputational damage” on the HSE, the Medical Independent (MI) can report.

The issue has been of longstanding concern to the HSE’s audit committee and has been previously reported in this newspaper.

At a meeting of the audit and risk committee on 27 August, the minutes of which were obtained by MI through Freedom of Information law, it was agreed that there needs to be a “strong focus on the implementation of outstanding internal audit report recommendations”.

“Some of the committee members who had served on previous incarnations of the committee noted that many of the recommendations raised by internal audit in their reports were recurring issues and there was not a lot of evidence that management were addressing these valuable recommendations in a sufficiently timely fashion or addressing the underlying causes so that the issues do not recur elsewhere in the system,” according to the minutes.

A root-cause analysis was recommended in order to identify issues leading to recurring audit recommendations and the reasons why there is not a more “consistent approach” to their implementation.

It was important that the recommendations are implemented “given the potential for significant reputational damage and less effective use of resources” if the internal audits continue to be ignored, the minutes stated. There was also a presentation during the August meeting on the report of the HSE’s risk management process, as well as a quality assurance division report, which outlined current key issues and the listing of the main current risks.

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