Sláintecare council member Liam Doran has called for a meeting with the three party leaders in Government to highlight concerns about implementation of the health reform plan.
Mr Doran told Newstalk Breakfast that he was “very, very concerned” that the Sláintecare plan — as it was published — would not happen.
“I fear that it's going to be chipped away at and be amended, and be picked and chosen and so on,” he said.
State of play
The former INMO general secretary added that the council “was of a mind” that one further step could be taken and that would be seeking a meeting with the three party leaders to outline “the current state of play”.
There was a “very stark” contrast between the views of the two members who had resigned and those of the Minister for Health and senior management.
The roadmap is quite clear, we simply have to follow it.
Mr Doran said that there were a number of aspects of the plan that had not been in place and should be such as a Cabinet subcommittee on Sláintecare and a direct line of reporting to the Taoiseach.
“Sláintecare is the biggest social change in our infrastructure in terms of healthcare, it's a massive undertaking. I'm not sure at the moment we have a full political and bureaucratic understanding that we're up for this journey, it takes 10 years, let's get on with it.
“The roadmap is quite clear, we simply have to follow it,” he added.
Meanwhile, management consultant and Sláintecare member Eddie Molloy has said that it was important that the healthcare reform project be externally accountable.
Speaking on RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland that his focus was on the prize — the implementation of Sláintecare.
Sláintecare was not a Minister Stephen Donnelly project, nor was it part of the National Development Plan, it had been “crafted” by representatives of all the political parties.
There were three key elements to the plan, he said — waiting lists; eHealth (technology) and devolution (regionalisation) from the current “monolithic centre”.
Mr Molloy said he did not know why council chairman Professor Tom Keane and Sláintecare office executive director Laura Magahy had resigned last month, but acknowledged that the council had met resistance, “some of it pretty brutal”, from the Department of Health.
“I don’t know what happened in those engagements” (between Prof Keane and Ms Magahy).
“My focus is on the prize — the implementation of Sláintecare, that’s what we want to achieve. We don’t want to lose sight of that.”
In a letter to the Council on Saturday, the Minister for Health announced plans to create a new group to advise his department on regional health areas which were due to be established under the devolution plan.
Some members of the original Sláintecare Implementation Advisory Council had agreed to serve on the new group, one of whom is Mr Molloy, who said that he did not agree with comments by other council members Liam Doran and Roisin Shortall that the Minister’s plan for a new group was not in keeping with the vision of the original blueprint for the Sláintecare health service reforms.
Mr Molloy said that the focus on regionalisation did not mean there would not be reporting on other targets on the Sláintecare reform list (waiting lists and eHealth).
There had to be a process of reporting in public, he said. The big challenge was to get 'buy in' from people impacted (by regionalisation) who would be losing power and budgets.
It was important that there be accountability, that it was not just a closed group, that there was an external role, he added.
The new group could not “fudge” accountability. It will be “coats off, hacking away” to create streamlines, he said.