Movement on Sláintecare welcomed, but momentum must be maintained

September 14, 2017

In a reply to a Dáil question this week, the Minister for Health further set out his plans for the implementation of the Sláintecare report.

Róisín Shortall TD, co-leader of the Social Democrats today welcomed the news that the Government have committed to the setting up of an implementation office for Sláintecare. Deputy Shortall said: “While this is a significant step, it is important that the implementation office is independent and adequately resourced. There is also a need to ensure that the senior staff team have expertise in modern health service delivery, organisational change management and clear accountability structures.”

Deputy Shortall however expressed disappointment that the government will take some months to issue a full response to the cross-party plan for the future of the health system. She went on to urge the government to fully back the implementation of the Sláintecare plan and to not miss this historic opportunity to move forward with an agreed cross-party plan for providing a universal single tier health service.

“It is disappointing that the Minister says that the Government will not respond fully to the report until December, the situation in the health system is urgent now and likely to get worse over the winter. Waiting times are getting worse and there is a chronic shortage of healthcare staff. Healthcare is getting more expensive and harder to access whether that’s in the public health service or the private health service. The government must act now and ensure that the funding to reform and modernise our health system is provided in the upcoming budget.”


14 September 2017


QUESTION NOS:  1088, 1089, 1238 & 1287
DÁIL QUESTIONS addressed to the Minister for Health (Simon Harris T.D.)
by Deputies
for WRITTEN ANSWER on 11/09/2017

*  1088.  To ask the Minister for Health if he will respond to recent media reports (details supplied) of his plans to appoint a health tsar; the specific remit of this role; the timeframe for their appointment; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  – Róisín Shortall T.D.

As the Deputies are aware, I supported the establishment of the cross-party Committee on the Future of Healthcare and have consistently supported its work. I have welcomed the publication of the Sláintecare report and in particular I have been encouraged by the level of cross party and stakeholder support that it has attracted.

I am committed to making tangible and sustainable improvements in our health services and the Committee’s work now provides a framework to do this. I have briefed Government colleagues on the report and I have received approval to move ahead with the establishment of a Sláintecare programme office. This office will be tasked with implementing a programme of reform, as agreed by Government, arising from the Sáintecare Report. It will be led by a senior executive with the appropriate experience and skillset. I expect the recruitment process to commence very shortly. Recruitment will be by way of open competition.

In parallel, work is underway to develop a detailed response to the report for consideration by Government in December. The report is wide reaching and it is important that appropriate time is allowed for it to be fully considered and for implementation arrangements to be properly designed.
As set out at the outset, we now have a level of consensus and support for delivering a real improvement in our health services that is unprecedented. I look forward to continued constructive engagement across all parties on this very important agenda.