Press Release

Minister sets out new policy direction for public hospitals

The Minister for Health, Dr James Reilly T.D., has today (Friday 30th March, 2012) published a new policy direction for the establishment of public hospital groups across the country.

The Minister has written to the HSE outlining his policy on setting up the hospital groups, and on the management arrangements for those groups, as part of a series of steps to implement the Government’s health reform agenda. The Minister said: “There is a significant benefit to be gained by organising the country’s hospitals into groups. It will allow for Group Chief Executives to develop initiatives and solutions that take account of the synergies between a number of hospitals in the same geographic region thus ensuring quicker treatments for more patients. It will be a key part of the wider reform process on our way to Universal Health Insurance”

The new initiative has involved the Minister setting out his policy under Section 10 of the Health Act 2004, which allows the Minister to give formal policy direction to the HSE.

The Minister added: “It is very important to set out clearly and transparently how the health reform programme is being implemented so that patients, their families and the staff delivering those services, know what to expect in the coming months. I am using the opportunity afforded to me by the Health Act 2004 to set out clearly the direction of policy to the HSE. I intend to make regular use of the act into the future to give clarity as to the intended affect of Government health reform policy.

Work on developing the new hospital groups is underway and there will be appropriate consultation before decisions in this regard are made by the Government. In particular, the Minister intends to publish a Framework for the Development of Smaller Hospitals very shortly.

Read the Minister’s letter to the Chairman of the HSE.