Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health David Cullinane TD has said that HIQA’s position paper The Need to Reform Ireland’s National Health Information System, published today, is a wake-up call.
He said a new, holistic, time-framed and fully-funded modernisation strategy is urgently needed.
He added that the report highlights the significant IT weaknesses in the HSE, and wider health system, which are hindering development of a modern, efficient and effective health service.
Teachta Cullinane said:
“The HIQA report published today highlights the urgent need for a new, holistic, time-framed, and fully-funded modernisation strategy for the health service.
“Covid-19 and the cyberattack exposed an unfit-for-purpose health service, which was struggling well before the pandemic.
“Those frailties were exposed further by the scramble to put in place systems for testing and tracing, and for the vaccine rollout.
“The main issue with the health service is an acute shortage of capacity – there are simply not enough doctors, nurses, allied health and social care professionals, beds, equipment for diagnostics and surgeries, or theatre space to do the work.
“This is also a massive organisation with a budget of more than €20bn, which does not have proper financial oversight. That is bad management.
“The healthcare blackhole exists because there is no integrated financial management system, which leads to poor oversight and efficiency outcomes. It also lacks transparent and compliant public procurement.
“There has been dismal progress on digitised patient records, unique patient identifiers, integration of records, such as lab reports, across sectors.
“It lacks common sense IT systems, such as a centralised referral system or an integrated waiting list management system.
“This report is hard hitting, and justifiably so. It makes for frustrating reading because it sets out many issues and concerns, which have been known about for many years.
“This is an extremely important aspect of healthcare delivery, which would bring many benefits for patients, staff and the public purse.
“The lack of progress on IT modernisation to date is hindering the development of a modern, efficient and effective health service.”