Press Release

Administrative oversight corrected to lay policy directions to HSE before Houses of the Oireachtas

The Department of Health & Children said today (19th April) it was taking steps to ensure that copies of policy directions issued by the Minister to the Health Service Executive (HSE) under section 10 (1) of the Health Act 2004 are laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas.

An administrative oversight had led to copies of two policy directions not being laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas as required by that Act. This does not affect the validity of the policy directions.

Under section 10(1) of the Health Act 2004 the Minister may issue written directions to the HSE for any purpose relating to that Act or any other enactment. Under section 10 (6), a copy of such policy directions (or any direction amending or revoking such a direction) is to be laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas within 21 days of being issued.

The purpose of section 10(6) is to ensure that the Oireachtas is aware of policy directions under section 10, reflecting the need for openness and transparency in relation to such directions. However, the approval of the Houses to a policy direction is not a requirement of the Act.

On 18 February 2005, a policy direction issued to the HSE requiring it to prepare and submit a code of governance.

A further policy direction, dealing with the co-location of private hospitals on public sites, issued to the HSE on 14 July 2005. It was published in full the same day on the Department’s website and in press releases, and has been debated in the Oireachtas, at the Joint Committee on Health and Children, at Question Time and in full debates.

The Department regrets the administrative oversight and acknowledges the error in not informing the Oireachtas in the manner prescribed. It is now correcting the oversight and will ensure that all future policy directions under section 10(1) of the 2004 Act are laid before the Oireachtas within the required timescale.”