Sláintecare advisory group have ‘thorough’ meeting with health chiefs

Council sought answers about concerns raised by Magahy and Keane in resignations

Members of the Sláintecare implementation advisory council had a "thorough" meeting with HSE chief executive Paul Reid and Department of Health secretary general Robert Watt on Wednesday.

It was the first meeting between council members and the health officials since the resignations last month of its executive director Laura Magahy and chairman Prof Tom Keane over the slow pace of the plan to overhaul the health service.

Liam Doran, a council member and former general secretary of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, said a subcommittee met Mr Watt and Mr Reid about the resignations and would now report back to the other members.

“It was a thorough meeting but it was only a subcommittee of the council so we are duty-bound to feed back to them on an agreed next step,” he said.


The meeting was described as “thorough and constructive” on the HSE side.

The full council is due to meet this week to consider the responses of Mr Reid and Mr Watt.

The council's term is due to expire on October 24th but they have sought an extension from Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly until the end of the year in light of the upheaval in the programme caused by the high-profile resignations of Ms Magahy and Prof Keane.

Members of the council are keen for the Oireachtas and the Department of Taoiseach rather than the Department of Health to oversee the implementation of the programme because of the cross-party support for the reform of the health service.

Mr Reid has said the HSE remains fully committed to Sláintecare and the move to a new structure of six regional hubs under the programme, but that the priority for the health service over the past 18 months has been the management of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Simon Carswell

Simon Carswell

Simon Carswell is News Editor of The Irish Times