Poor management creating risks in Louth/Meath


RISKS TO patients in counties Louth and Meath will increase unless local managers provide “real” management and leadership, the senior Health Service Executive (HSE) official in the region has warned.

Any adverse outcomes for patients will be the result of “management’s inability to manage” rather than costcontainment measures, according to the letter from Stephen Mulvany, regional director of HSE Dublin North-East to local management.

“The current financial situation of the group represents a clear and present danger to the ongoing viability of the range of services provided by the group to the local population,” he warns in the letter, seen by The Irish Times.

According to Mr Mulvany, absenteeism in the area is well above the national target of 3.5 per cent and equates to 146 full-time posts. He describes the group’s performance in managing costs as very poor, pointing out that the deficit has grown from a projected €8-9 million to €22-23 million by year’s end.

The inability of senior managers to set a target figure and manage it was extremely concerning, he said. “This calls into question the ability and credibility of the team as a whole and the individuals on it.”

Describing the finances of the group as a “true crisis”, he added: “Unless the senior management team proactively now accepts and fully embraces its obligations around managing within its resources and provides real leadership . . . services are likely to be curtailed beyond what would otherwise be necessary and patients will be exposed to risks that would not otherwise be the case.”

Mr Mulvany said there was a perception in the group that it was underresourced but if anything it was overresourced and underproductive compared with other areas. The letter, sent last month, set out proposed cuts which have since been introduced in the area, including a ban on most overtime and a halving of agency staff.

It also informed local managers that they would no longer be able to sanction other payments. Mr Mulvany advised that “autonomy must be earned and retained through performance and those who demonstrate an inability to manage must expect . . . a temporary loss or curtailment of their authority”.