Irish Times view on Sláintecare appointments: leadership required

Political commitment to health system reform project and spiralling health budget continue to cause concern

File photograph: Alan Betson

File photograph: Alan Betson

 

It is more than a year since the All-Party Oireachtas Committee on the Future of Healthcare set out it’s 10-year vision for the future of the health system. However Government action to implement the Sláintecare plan has been notably slow: the Health Service Executive remains without an independent board; negotiations over a new GP contract – a central element of the core plan to shift care from hospitals to the community– are stalled; and there has been little concrete progress on the addition of the 2,600 acute hospital beds identified as essential to help ease our chronic waiting list problem.

In that context, the appointments last week of an executive director of the Sláintecare programme office – Laura Magahy – and of a chair of the Sláintecare advisory council – Dr Tom Keane – are welcome. Magahy has a track record of devising and leading complex and challenging projects. In the health sector, she and her company oversaw the €284 million development of the Mater Hospital in Dublin. But much of her work has involved physical development; Sláintecare is a challenge of a different magnitude and scope, requiring a significant cultural change in the way healthcare is delivered in Ireland.

Strong leadership, clear governance and effective engagement of stakeholders across the health sector will be essential to successful reform

As advisory council chair, Keane has stepped forward to render public service again. In the role of first head of the National Cancer Control programme, the Irish-Canadian brought equity and excellence to cancer treatment here.

Concerns remain that the Government will be tempted to cherry-pick just some elements of Sláintecare. This would be a mistake. The initiative sets out a long-term vision for health policy that must be allowed to develop above party politics and parish-pump concerns.

“Strong leadership, clear governance and effective engagement of stakeholders across the health sector will be essential to successful reform”, Dr Keane noted on his appointment. Wise words with which to begin the next stage of a project where the depth of political commitment – and the spiralling health budget – continue to give cause for concern.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.