Press Release

Performance Verification Process in the Health Service

The Health Service Performance Verification Group (HSPVG), chaired by Ms Maureen Lynott, has now completed the first phase of its work in relation to payment of the benchmarking and general round increases due from 1 January 2004 and has reported its findings to the Secretary General of the Department of Health and Children

The final decision of the Secretary General of the Department of Health and Children is that payment of the second phase of the benchmarking increases and the 3% general round increase to all staff in the health service covered by the Public Service Benchmarking Body’s pay recommendations, with effect from 1 January 2004, is warranted.

The Secretary General concluded that there is strong evidence of willingness within the health sector to co-operate with modernisation and change under each of the headings set out inSustaining Progress. This applies to the sector as a whole and to individual organisations and groups to varying degrees.

Key achievements

The key modernisation achievements include:

  • industrial peace has been maintained;
  • the new system for the management of industrial relations in the health sector is up and running and includes agreement on a Code of Practice on Dispute Procedures;
  • extended hours initiatives in key clinical support areas (i.e. radiography, laboratory services) and the Civil Registration Service have been launched;
  • a major skills mix initiative . the establishment of the grade of Health Care Assistant . is being initiated on a service-wide basis;
  • the consultative phase of the Health Service Reform Programme has been successfully completed.

Priorities for next phase of modernisation

The Department is concerned to ensure that the many positive results now being achieved at pilot stage in addressing the specific modernisation objectives set for the health services under Sustaining Progress will be translated into a more positive general impact on the health system overall. At a recent meeting of the Health Service National Joint Council, the trade union side gave a commitment to maintaining the momentum for change and modernisation and to moving the changes being piloted towards more widespread adoption. Both sides accepted the need for a more readily transparent assessment and verification process.

In this regard, the HSPVG have identified the following five priority areas where health agencies are required to achieve real and verifiable progress between now and 1 June 2005:

  • Customer Service;
  • Industrial Relations Stability;
  • Performance Management;
  • Reform; and
  • Value for Money.

Performance Verification Process

The assessment of verified progress in achieving the modernisation and change objectives set out in Sustaining Progress for the health service was carried out by the Health Service Performance Verification Group (HSPVG) in accordance with the procedures set out in section 26.5 of Sustaining Progress.

The HSPVG examined a total of fourteen progress reports submitted by the Chief Executive Officers of each of the following organisations:

  • the seven health boards
  • the Eastern Regional Health Authority (ERHA);
  • the five Dublin Academic Teaching Hospitals; and
  • the National Federation of Voluntary Bodies.

The HSPVG also examined the report prepared by the Health Service National Partnership Forum – composed of union and management representatives – on progress in modernisation in the health sector overall.

HSPVG Assessment

Each of the reports was subject to a comprehensive, strict and rigorous assessment process by the HSPVG. The HSPVG’s unanimous assessment in the case of each agency assessed was that payment was warranted. The Performance Verification Group qualified its decision in the case of three agencies and provided comments in relation to the reports for a further six of the agencies highlighting particular requirements for the next phase.

Agencies subject to a qualification are expected to vigorously address the aspect noted for future payments to be made.

The decision in each case is set out below.

  1. ERHA – Payment Warranted/Qualified – Unanimous
  2. NEHB – Payment Warranted – Unanimous
  3. MHB – Payment Warranted /with comment – Unanimous
  4. SEHB – Payment Warranted/with comment – Unanimous
  5. SHB – Payment Warranted – Unanimous
  6. MWHB – Payment Warranted/with comment – Unanimous
  7. WHB – Payment Warranted – Unanimous
  8. NWHB – Payment Warranted – Unanimous
  9. St James – Payment Warranted – Unanimous
  10. St Vincent’s – Payment Warranted/with comment – Unanimous
  11. Tallaght – Payment Warranted/Qualified- Unanimous
  12. Beaumont – Payment Warranted/Qualified – Unanimous
  13. Mater – Payment Warranted/with comment – Unanimous
  14. National Federation of Voluntary Bodies – Payment Warranted/with comment – Unanimous