The Health Reform Alliance has today welcomed the launch of the public recruitment process for the Executive Director of the Sláintecare Implementation Office. The Alliance of health and social care charities expressed disappointment that the deadline for the establishment of the office has already been missed by six months, but called the process “an important first step”.
Paul Gordon, Co-Chair of the Alliance said: “We welcome the beginning of the recruitment process for the Sláintecare Implementation Office. This is a very important first step, and is a positive early indication of the Government’s commitment to the Sláintecare reform process. It is, however, a disappointment that it has taken this long to publicly advertise the role, and it may be months before an Executive Director is in place, and even longer before the office is fully operational.”
The Sláintecare report called for a director to be in place by July 2017 and staff to be recruited by October 2017.
Kathryn Reilly, Co-Chair, said: “The Sláintecare implementation office will be a key driver of reform and it’s pleasing to see a recognition of the need to recruit a senior person with broad experience of implementing large-scale transformative change. The Government needs to ensure that this office and its director are offered full independence in carrying out its remit, so it does not become just another division within the Department of Health.”
The Cross-Party Committee on the Future of Healthcare recommended that the appointment be recruited at Secretary General level, be highly independent and that a Cabinet Sub-Committee be established to oversee the implementation office.
Ms. Reilly said: “The Sláintecare Office needs to have teeth, so it can set about putting in place the real reform envisaged in the report. The recent capacity review, which showed that Sláintecare reforms would significantly reduce the number of additional beds required by 2030, highlights the importance of making demonstrable reforms as soon as possible.”
Recent media reports about the Department of Health’s capacity review showed that by 2030, between 7,000 and 9,000 extra beds would be required in the health system if the current model of health service delivery continues.
Mr. Gordon said: “While it’s good news that this recruitment process has started and the implementation office will receive a full allocation of €1m this year, there is still no sign of an implementation plan, which Minister Harris stated would be published by the end of 2017, nor is there any sign of the Minister’s report to Government in response to Sláintecare, one of the key priorities in Health set out by the Taoiseach upon his appointment by the Dáil in June.”
“We have seen some early progress on Sláintecare reforms, including reductions in out of pocket payments, but the Government must now demonstrate a joined-up approach to Sláintecare, which goes beyond policies already promised in the Programme for Government.”