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HSE to be restructured into regional boards

The HSE is to be restructured into regional boards.

The Minister for Health, Simon Harris, is set to bring proposals to Cabinet on Wednesday.

It will involve a partial return to the old health board system that existed before the HSE was established 15 years ago.

Under the cross-party 10 year plan for the health service Slaintecare, more power is due to be given to six regional health boards in a major shake-up of the HSE.

The idea has cross-party support but Stephen McMahon, from the Irish Patients Association, has raised concerns.

"They say that each area will be autonomous and that raises concerns about the fact is it going to be a unified approach to delivering care in an equitable way."

Fianna Fáil's health spokesperson Stephen Donnelly says people do not really care about the organisational structures of the executive.

He says they just want to know if they will get better access to the health service and if it is affordable.

"You've men, women and children all over Ireland, waiting to see doctors," said Mr Donnolly.

"They're suffering. Their conditions are deteriorating. They're dying in some cases.

"Really what matters is two things: Will it improve access to the healthcare system, which is now the worst in Europe.

"And the other thing is as well as access is, it has to be affordable."