Press Release

Minister for Health welcomes establishment of the HSE Directorate following enactment of the HSE (Governance) Act

Another major step in reform of health services

The Minister for Health, Dr James Reilly TD, today (25 July) welcomed the establishment of the Health Service Executive (HSE) Directorate, following the enactment of the HSE (Governance) Act.

Congratulating Tony O’Brien on his appointment as Director General of the HSE, the Minister said, “the newly established Directorate is accountable to me, as Minister for Health, for the performance of the HSE. Its establishment is another step on the major health reform agenda that I am driving as Minister for Health”. The Minister also congratulated the National Directors on their appointments (these are: Laverne McGuinness, Chief Operations Officer and Deputy Director General; Tom Byrne, Chief Financial Officer; John Hennessy, Director Primary Care, Ian Carter, Director Acute Hospitals; Pat Healy, Director Social Care; Stephen Mulvany, Director Mental Health; and Stephanie O’Keeffe, Director Health and Wellbeing).

The Minister underlined that “while I believe that these changes are of fundamental importance to the future of our health service, it is equally important that people and patients can be assured that the day-to-day work of the health services will continue. Frontline staff will maintain their high levels of service to the public.”

The Directorate’s establishment follows the enactment of the HSE (Governance) Act. The Act builds on existing accountability arrangements under the Health Act (2004) such as annual service plans and reports, codes of governance and the provision of information to the Minister. The Act allows the Minister to issue directions to the HSE on the implementation of Ministerial and Government policies and objectives relating to HSE functions where the Minister believes that the HSE is not having sufficient regard to such objectives or policies in performing its functions. The Minister will also be empowered to determine priorities to which the HSE must have regard in preparing its service plan and, in addition, he or she may specify performance targets for the HSE. In parallel with these governance reforms, work is advanced on the transfer of children and family services from the HSE to the new Child and Family Agency, in line with the Programme for Government. The Child and Family Agency Bill (2013), which provides for this transfer, is currently before the Oireachtas. The CEO Designate of the Child and Family Agency is Mr Gordon Jeyes.

The Minister concluded: “The Directorate is a step in a much wider process of reform which envisages, as set out in the Programme for Government, the eventual dissolution of the HSE. This will require further legislation and careful planning and sequencing. Today is a significant day but only a stepping stone to ensuring a health service fit for the 21st century.”