Sláintecare reforms must be accountable, Dr Eddie Molloy says

Healthcare reform advisory group to be restructured following resignations

Dr Eddie Molloy: ‘My focus is on the prize – the implementation of Sláintecare, that’s what we want to achieve. We don’t want to lose sight of that.’ Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Management consultant and Sláintecare member Dr Eddie Molloy has said it is important that the healthcare reform project be externally accountable and that a process of reporting in public be put in place.

It comes as the Sláintecare Implementation Advisory Council is to be restructured following a series of recent resignations.

Speaking on RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland, Dr Molloy, who will retain his role as the project is restructured, said his focus was on the prize – the implementation of Sláintecare.

He said Sláintecare was not a Stephen Donnelly project nor was it part of the National Development Plan, but was “crafted” by representatives of all the political parties.


There were three key elements to the plan, he said: waiting lists; eHealth (technology); and devolution (regionalisation) from the current “monolithic centre”.

Dr Molloy said he did not know why former council chairman Prof Tom Keane and Sláintecare office executive director Laura Magahy had resigned last month, but acknowledged that the council had met resistance, “some of it pretty brutal”, from the Department of Health.

“My focus is on the prize – the implementation of Sláintecare, that’s what we want to achieve. We don’t want to lose sight of that.”

New group

In a letter to the council on Saturday, Minister for Health Mr Donnelly announced plans to create a new group to advise his department on regional health areas which were due to be established under the devolution plan.

Some members of the original Sláintecare Implementation Advisory Council agreed to serve on the new group, one of whom is Dr Molloy. He said he did not agree with comments by other council members Liam Doran and Róisín Shortall that the Minister’s plan for a new group was not in keeping with the vision of the original blueprint for the Sláintecare health service reforms.

Dr Molloy said the focus on regionalisation did not mean there would not be reporting on other targets on the Sláintecare reform list (waiting lists and eHealth).

There had to be a process of reporting in public, he said. The big challenge was to get “buy-in” from people impacted by regionalisation who would be losing power and budgets.

It was important that there be accountability, that it was not just a closed group, that there was an external role, he added.

The new group could not “fudge” accountability. It will be “coats off, hacking away” to create streamlines, he said.

Liam Doran

Meanwhile, Sláintecare council member Liam Doran has called for a meeting with the three party leaders in Government to highlight concerns about implementation of the health reform plan.

Mr Doran told Newstalk Breakfast that he was “very, very concerned” that the Sláintecare plan – as it was published – would not happen.

“I fear that it’s going to be chipped away at and be amended, and be picked and chosen and so on,” he said.

The former INMO general secretary added that the council “was of a mind” that one further step could be taken and that would be seeking a meeting with the three party leaders to outline “the current state of play”.

There was a “very stark” contrast between the views of the two members who had resigned and those of the Minister for Health and senior management.