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paul reid

HSE boss says he is trying to improve accountability in the organisation

Paul Reid said there should be a culture that embraces disclosure of wrongdoing.

The chief executive of the HSE has said he wants to strengthen accountability in the organisation. 

Paul Reid said he is trying to create a culture that will “embrace” open disclosure of potential wrongdoing in clinical settings.

The health service boss was speaking following a week where the Dáil witnessed an emotional appeal for accountability in the case of “Grace”, an intellectually disabled woman placed in a foster home in the southeast of the country.

The Farrelly Commission has been examining allegations that she was neglected for decades and suffered sustained sexual abuse. 

It has published two interim reports, which were debated in the Dáil on Thursday where Kilkenny TD John McGuinness said any health officials who knew what was happening to Grace should be “chased down” and prosecuted.

Speaking today, Reid said he could not address the Grace case specifically as the Commission’s work is ongoing, with its final report due in June, however he accepted that “harm has been caused” at times by HSE personnel.

“We want to strengthen the levels of accountability in the HSE overall and I’ve brought papers to our board – who are very committed to this – about how we strengthen accountability in all cases,” he told This Week on RTÉ Radio One. 

He added: “There’s no doubt tens of thousands of our staff every day all across the country, treat tens of thousands of the public for their care, and in most cases it’s extremely good care.

“However, there are cases where harm has been caused.”

Reid said there is a requirement for transparency in the Executive and for “open disclosure being embraced” by officials. 

To create accountability, the HSE needs to create a culture where there is clarity on roles and responsibilities, Reid continued. 

“So when harm is caused, we want to make sure that we address this and create that culture and create a learning culture too and hold people accountable as well.”

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