Press Release

Health System Audit underway as part of the implementation of the National Health Strategy

The Minister for Health and Children, Mr Micheál Martin, today (21 July 2002) welcomed the beginning of work on an Audit of Functions and Structures in the Health System. The audit is one of the organisational reforms to which the government is committed under the National Health Strategy Quality and Fairness. It will ensure that the various organisations that make up the health system are properly aligned to deliver the goals of the new Health Strategy.

The structures in the Irish health system have remained largely unaltered over the past thirty years despite wide-ranging changes in our society. The relationship between the Department of Health and Children and the Health Boards has evolved and new agencies have been created to address new needs and expectations but the overall structure of interrelationships now needs to be reviewed. The functions and governance arrangements of almost 60 individual organisations will also be examined.

Prospectus Strategy Consultants have been awarded the contract and will complete their work by December of this year. “The audit is of strategic significance in the roll-out of the Health Strategy and the reshaping of our health system,” said the Minister.

The purpose of the audit is to ensure clear lines of accountability and communication between each part of the system, no overlap or duplication between organisations, and a proper alignment of the structure as a whole to the vision and objectives outlined in the Health Strategy. The audit will consider the scope for rationalisation throughout the health system. It will ensure that the structures in the health system:

  • are the most appropriate and responsive to meet current and future serrvice needs
  • constitute an adequate framework for overall governance of the health system
  • achieve an effective integration of services across all parts of the system
  • adequately represent the views of consumers in the planning and delivery of services
  • focus upon the principles of equity, accountability, quality and people-centredness and the national goals of the Health Strategy.

The report will be submitted to the Minister by the end of the year.