HSE board members must have 'no conflicts of interest', Dáil told

Minister of State says he hope move 'a key enabler' of transformation in health services

Sinn Féin health spokeswoman Louise O’Reilly TD said the nine-member HSE board should not have appointees who have conflicts such as ‘stakes in private hospitals or video medicine systems’. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times.

Sinn Féin health spokeswoman Louise O’Reilly TD said the nine-member HSE board should not have appointees who have conflicts such as ‘stakes in private hospitals or video medicine systems’. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times.

 

The Government has been warned to ensure there is no conflict of interest among members of the board of the HSE when it is re-established, six years after being abolished.

Sinn Féin health spokeswoman Louise O’Reilly said the nine-member board should not have appointees who have conflicts such as “stakes in private hospitals or video medicine systems”. She also said the board “must be committed to a truly public health system”.

Ms O’Reilly welcomed the appointment of Ciarán Devane as the chair-designate of the board after an “exhaustive” process by the Public Appointments Service (PAS). Mr Devane, former chief executive of the Macmillan Cancer Support charity, also served as a non-executive director of the UK’s NHS.

The Dublin Fingal TD was speaking during a Dáil debate on the legislation to allow for establishment of a slimmed down nine-member board, as recommended in the cross-party Sláintecare report.

Minister of State Jim Daly, who introduced the Health Service Executive (Governance) Bill, said the appointments process took place recently to select the remaining members. Minister for Health Simon Harris “hopes to be in a position to make an announcement on the selection of members shortly”, he added.

‘Enabler’

Mr Daly said the Bill re-establishing the board “is a key enabler of accountability, improvement and transformation in our health services”.

He said the board as the governing body of the HSE, the largest State agency with a budget of €19 billion this year, will be “accountable to the Minister for the performance of its functions. High standards of integrity and probity will be expected of the board”.

“The board will have strong competencies in key areas, giving leadership to guide, challenge and support the chief executive officer and HSE executive team, ensuring accountability and delivering organisational transformation within our health service,” Mr Daly added.

Fianna Fáil health spokesman Stephen Donnelly reminded the Minister that the Bill was not the result of a Government initiative.

“The Government did not wake up and realise that it should not have marched the board of the HSE out and destroyed governance in our healthcare system. It did not come up with the idea of bringing the board back.”

He said “it was made clear in a report drawn up by this House that the biggest, most important, most complicated and most expensive system in our country self-evidently needs a board”.

Debate on the Bill continues.