HSE reforms superficial, says Martin

Sun, Jul 22, 2012, 01:00

Planned reforms of the Health Service Executive have been described as “superficial” by Fianna Fail leader Micheál Martin.

Mr Martin, the former health minister who established the HSE, said it was “a myth” that Minister for Health James Reilly had “disbanded” the Executive.

Mr Reilly last week announced plans that the HSE would formally cease to exist in 2014 and would be brought under the direct control of his department. A director general and heads of six new area-specific directorates will be appointed as part of the reorganisation.

Mr Martin defended the HSE which “had worked” since it was set up. It had transformed cardiovascular health, cancer care and in significantly improving health outcomes, Mr Martin told This Week on RTE radio.

He had set up the Executive to take “politics out of the management of the health services and also to bring greater coherence to the management of acute hospitals,” and he did not “accept the politics that has been made of this”.

“A lot more reform” needed to happen “particularly on the administrative side”, he said.

However outgoing HSE chief executive Cathal Magee, who announced that he was stepping down last week, was “uniquely qualified to bring that administrative capacity to the Executive," Mr Martin said. His resignation was “very damaging”, Mr Martin added.

Mr Reilly had "in essence abolished the board which was made up of external personnel who brought added value” and "replaced it with Department of Health officials in the past 12 to 15 months," Mr Martin said.

This was “an incredible decision really, which is very poor governance,” Mr Martin said.