By Cate McCurry, PA
The head of the Health Service Executive (HSE) has said there is “absolute consensus” for reforming the health service.
Paul Reid rejected accusations of “institutional resistance” whch is threatening the implementation of Slaintecare.
He said everyone within the health services recognise the need for a “massive” overhaul.
The programme to radically change how healthcare is delivered in the country was dealt a blow following the resignation of two senior officials involved in its rollout.
@goggshealy thanks all those involved in today’s #RightCareRightPlaceRightTime webinar and for sharing how frontline professionals are delivering person-centred care. The recording of today’s webinar will be available to watch back on: https://t.co/arxQDxQh69
— Sláintecare (@slaintecare) September 23, 2021
The resignation of chairman Professor Tom Keane and executive director Laura Magahy sparked concern about the drive to introduce universal healthcare.
Earlier this week, Social Democrats co-leader Roisin Shortall told the Dáil there is “institutional resistance” within the HSE and Department of Health over the implementation of the programme.
Mr Reid told RTÉ that he took up the role of chief executive two years ago with the “absolute intention and passion” of driving the implementation of Slaintecare.
“If you look at what’s happened in the past 18 months, we certainly have been dealing with a pandemic, four waves of Covid and sometimes 2,000 people in hospital, 220 people in ICU,” he added.
“What I have seen and experienced, and I think the public should take great confidence in that even throughout that whole period, many aspects of Slaintecare have been driven home to the benefit of public and patients, which is what it’s all about.
“In simple terms, Slaintecare was about many policy issues around universal health care, public and private public hospitals. It was also about reforming the operational aspects of it and we have taken that opportunity in Covid.”
He said these included putting community intervention in place, growing community health networks, and providing GP access to diagnostics.
Mr Reid added: “We in the health service and everybody I have met in it recognises there’s massive reform needed, and still more needed in terms of addressing our waiting lists, in terms of addressing regional structures.
“We are fully operational, fully committed to that.”
He denied there has been “major disagreements” in the last 18 months, insisting there is absolute consensus around Slaintecare.
“We do want to get back to it and we do need to address very serious issues, specifically in relation to regions,” he added.
“We don’t have an aligned regional structure at the moment, I acknowledge that we have nine community health organisations and six hospital groups and they are not integrated.
“The whole issue has been around timing, and I don’t believe any of the public would have thanked us to be talking or putting resources into structural design at a time when we had to battle for waves of Covid and a cyber attack.
“It is appropriate and it is the right structure to be looking at the future in terms of regionalisation.”