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Saolta group desires more autonomy for board

Saolta Group board minutes from July outline how the chair of the board and the Group CEO had a meeting scheduled with Minister for Health Simon Harris that month.

“During the ministerial meeting, the chair will highlight the difficulties in autonomy within the current structure and that both the board and the executive want to develop the board’s role further,” according to the minutes. 

“The chair has requested a meeting with the Minister to facilitate the Saolta board in sharing their experiences gained over the previous four years.”

The board noted that the National University of Ireland provides a model structure that could be modified and adopted for the Group and also that Saolta could be used as the “exemplar” for the move towards independent Hospital Groups. 

At the previous month’s meeting, the Group’s Clinical Director Dr Pat Nash made a presentation on the proposed integrated Group governance model, which the Group’s Executive Council recently approved. Dr Nash advised the board that the subgroup formed to develop a proposal on Group governance structure had examined various clinical leadership and governance models.

“The proposed model will allow for greater financial and risk accountability within the seven clinical directorates,” according to minutes of the June meeting. “The HSE will resource this strategic changes programme with external project management expertise from Price Waterhouse.”

Meanwhile, Minister Harris last month invited applications for the position of chairperson of the Saolta Group board. He said the ideal candidate “will be committed to the Saolta University Health Care Group mission and will be passionate, enthusiastic, and engaged”.

He/she must have a career history that demonstrates extensive experience at a senior level in either or both the areas of corporate governance and financial management.

A person who is proposed for appointment as chairperson by the Minister may be required to discuss the approach that they will take to their role as chairperson and their views about the contribution of the board to the Oireachtas Committee on Health. Following that discussion, a decision will be taken by the Minister to confirm the nominee as chairperson.

The closing date for applications, which had to be made directly to the Public Appointments Service, was 14 October.

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