Press Release

Minister Cowen launches partnership in the health service

Mr Brian Cowen T.D., Minister for Health and Children, today (Tuesday 13 April 1999) launched the partnership programme in the Health Service and emphasised that “this launch is a strong signal that we are entering a new phase in the management and delivery of our Health Services”.

Under Chapter 10 of the Partnership 2000 for Inclusion, Employment and Competitiveness, a framework document for Partnership in the Health Service has been agreed between management and union representatives. The Minister remarked that a programme of modernisation in Health Service terms is about running hospitals and other health care institutions better. He made reference to the constantly changing environment of the service and said that the key to survival and success would now be measured by the capacity of managers and staff to respond to those changes.

The Minister pointed out that the launch was the first step in developing joint ownership by management, unions and staff of the change process. He emphasised the importance of communications in that process as well as investment in training, facilitation and in supplying a central resource in the form of the National Forum, as provided for in the framework agreement.

The Minister remarked on the impact of partnership right across the public service including within the Department of Health & Children under the Civil Service Strategic Management Initiative.

Concluding, the Minister said “change is not easy. In partnership, we can approach the challenges together. This is about developing an active relationship with flows in both directions. It is about developing joint objectives in an atmosphere of co-operation and trust. It’s about participation and consultation. Ultimately, it is about the delivery of a patient-focused quality Health Service reflecting the needs of the client. We are at the start of a difficult process, but one to which, in getting even this far, we have already demonstrated our commitment”.