Sláintecare chief resigns as report details 'significant challenge' of waiting lists

A progress report states that waiting list issues are arising because nobody will take “ownership of actions and implementation oversight."
Sláintecare chief resigns as report details 'significant challenge' of waiting lists

Digital Desk Staff

The head of the office charged with implementing the Sláintecare health reform programme, Laura Magahy, has resigned.

As the Irish Examiner reports, it comes as a progress report shows a “significant challenge“ to tackling the more than 900,000 people languishing on waiting lists.

Chair of the Sláintecare advisory council Dr Tom Keane also left the programme.

A Department of Health spokeswoman said his departure reflected “his appointment to a three-year term as chairperson in 2018". The department thanked Ms Magahy for her “commitment and dedication to implementing the Sláintecare programme of reform”.

The report states the waiting list issues have worsened because nobody will take “ownership of actions and implementation oversight.”

It also shows that no site has yet been chosen for elective hospitals in Cork, Galway, and Dublin .

The update states: “With a total of 112 deliverables for January - June 2021, 84 were on track, 25 have been progressed with a minor challenge, and 3 with significant challenge.”

It shows out of five large projects that the waiting list issue is proving the most problematic. It is understood the waiting list plan will be published separately in the coming weeks.

NTPF figures show 900,000 patients on lists.

Critical issue

This plan for “a multiannual waiting lists reduction” is a critical issue for patients with latest figures from the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) showing over 900,000 people on lists.

A working group has now been established across the department of health, HSE and the NTPF.

However, the report warns of a “significant challenge” and says this marker means “unless major mitigant actions” take place “overall project milestones will not be delivered”.

The stumbling block is agreeing who will take “ownership of actions and implementation oversight”. This crucial step should have been finished in June but was still “under consideration”.

Setting up workstreams for these is also marked as facing a “minor challenge”. Details are not given, but this is described as linked to the cyberattack and delayed to the end of September.

The report shows the expert panel for elective hospitals remain focused on choosing sites. It says only the panel has “substantially progressed” its work. However, costs in line with the public spending code were approved by the department in February.

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