Legislation currently going through the Irish Parliament, the Health Service Executive (Governance) Bill 2018, will restructure the highest levels of management of the Health Service Executive (HSE), replacing its current HSE Directorate under its Director General with an HSE Board providing oversight over a new Chief Executive.
A proposed new HSE Board was appointed on an administrative basis in late January, but the appointments were challenged during a meeting of Committee on Health for the Oireachtas (Irish Parliament) on the 20th of February over concerns that there was a lack of clinical expertise on them, with Fianna Fáil health spokesperson Stephen Donnelly calling for an amendment to ensure that at least one patient advocate, two clinical experts, and one financial expert sat on the new board.
The aim of the bill is to improve the accountability of HSE, and it is reported that some amendments to the bill are already underway at the direction of Health Minister Simon Harris. These aim to improve accountability mechanisms between the Chief Executive, the Board, and the Minister, and ensure that all are aligned with multi-year strategic plans set at ministerial level. These reforms come in the context of recent controversies for HSE and the Minister, including a high-profile cost-overrun for a new hospital, and issues with an HPV screening programme.