Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health David Cullinane TD has said that the planned Regional Health Areas (RHAs) for the Health Service need to be able to act quickly to tackle the many challenges in healthcare, such as long waiting lists and hospital overcrowding.
He said that RHAs need to usher in a new culture of transparency and accountability in healthcare with fewer management layers and accountable autonomy. He called for devolved responsibility for recruitment and capital planning to RHAs with mult-iannual budgets.
Teachta Cullinane said:
“Regional Health Areas are a welcome step towards the promises of better healthcare, but they will not be able to tackle the many vast challenges facing the health service without real responsibility.
“The Department and the HSE are on the record favouring a minimal structural change approach, with corporate functions retained at the centre.
“That is not what was agreed for healthcare reform.
“It is essential that we get Regional Health Areas right and we need to see far more detail on what the Minister’s plan looks like.
“We need to see alignment across Government, the Department, the HSE, and the wider health sector, including with trade unions.
“Regional Health Areas need to be empowered in recruitment, retention, and capital planning to act quickly.
“They will need to be agile if they are to tackle waiting lists and overcrowding.
“The central Health Service Executive needs to be responsible for accountability, alignment, and clinical standards while empowering RHAs to deliver better healthcare.
“The Department of Health must lead a plan to train, recruit and retain more health care workers with a job guarantee for health graduates.
“The health service is faced with overcrowded emergency departments and 1.3 million people on some form of health waiting list, across hospitals, diagnostics, and community services.
“Reforms must usher in a new culture of transparency and accountability in healthcare, with less management layers and comprehensive planning.”