January 19, 2023
HSE avoidance of board oversight of Winter Plan dysfunctional, bewildering, and highly concerning – David Cullinane TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health David Cullinane TD has said that the decision of the Minister for Health and the interim CEO of the HSE to avoid the HSE board and deny it oversight and input on the failed Winter Plan for 2022/23 is “dysfunctional, bewildering, and highly concerning.”

Teachta Cullinane said that this pointed to serious dysfunctionality and contempt at the top of the HSE, driven by a Minister in panic mode. He said that the board should always have oversight and an opportunity to consider and approve of multi-million plans before they are published.

During a session of the Health Committee on Tuesday, the interim CEO of the HSE said that he had not sought sign-off of the Winter Plan from the board because he was not required to do so in legislation. As reported by RTÉ, the HSE board expressed concern at details of the Winter Plan at its meeting on the 26th of October, two weeks after its publication..

Teachta Cullinane said:

“The decision of the Minister for Health and the interim CEO of the HSE to avoid the HSE board and deny it oversight and input on the failed Winter Plan for 2022/23 is dysfunctional, bewildering, and highly concerning.

“This points to serious dysfunctionality and contempt for the board at the top of the HSE, driven by a Minister in panic mode.

“The board should always have oversight and an opportunity to consider and approve of multi-million plans before they are published. That is established practice in corporate governance.

“The interim CEO of the HSE did not consult the board on the Winter Plan because he did not have a statutory obligation to do so. That is not a good excuse. The HSE should not need to be micromanaged by legislation. Any CEO would know that they should consult their board on any plan concerning hundreds of millions of euro.

“It has emerged that the board expressed concerns at elements of the Winter Plan after it was published, and it is clear for all to see at this point that the plan has failed to curtail overcrowding in hospitals and emergency departments.

“The purpose of the board is to ensure accountability. Avoiding the board is unacceptable. There is a clear need for serious governance reform and an attitude change at the top of the HSE.”

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