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Two of Sláintecare's top officials resigned this week. Shutterstock
Healthcare Reform

Sláintecare council members express ‘shock, regret and concern’ over resignations

The council members said they were seeking answers from the Minister for Health.

LAST UPDATE | 10 Sep 2021

ELEVEN MEMBERS OF the Sláintecare Implementation Advisory Council (SIAC) have released a statement expressing “shock, regret and concern” at the resignations of two senior members of the reform programme.

The council members today paid sincere thanks to Laura Magahy and Professor Tom Keane for their “leadership, professionalism and tireless work” after both stood down from the project on Wednesday.

“News of their resignations is a cause of shock, regret and concern to us and and we are actively seeking answers from the Department and the Minister regarding the events that led up to and resulted in their resignation,” the members said.

In the light of these developments, as members of SIAC, we urge the government to ensure the Sláintecare programme of reforms is implemented in word, deed and spirit. 

The statement was signed by approximately half of the SIAC members.

Dr Eddie Molloy, one of the members who endorsed the statement, said it’s “very likely” that the number of members who support the message is higher than 11 because the statement was only assembled in recent hours.

He added that his own name was not on the statement when it was initially released.

Dr Molloy told RTÉ’s News at One programme that he was not aware of the encounters that Professor Tom Keane and Laura Magahy had which provoked their resignations, but for people of their stature to take this decision was very serious, he said.

Dr Molloy said he believes that a central issue was the “resistance and the delay” by the Health Minister Stephen Donnelly in supporting moving forward with regional structures for the health service.

“The regional structures involved the breakdown of the HSE, the monolithic HSE, into six regional, more or less self-contained, health systems,” he said.

Dr Molloy added that these regional structures would have provided a full health service, other than specialist areas like brain surgery and the National Children’s Hospital.

“The needs of Kerry are very different than Dublin say. So, that kind of devolution of responsibility and budgets, is the way to go. It’s happening in regards to An Garda Síochána in the same way. When you have a very large national institution, that is the way to design it,” Dr Molloy added.

Report

The statement comes as Health Minister Stephen Donnelly today published the latest Sláintecare mid-year progress report. 

The report details a total of 112 deliverables for the first six months of the year. Of those 112 deliverables, 109 are either on track or have been progressed. 

“Given what our health service has faced in the last 18 months, this is remarkable progress and a fantastic testament to the hard work and dedication of staff right across the Department of Health, the HSE and all of the partner organisations who work together to deliver Sláintecare,” Donnelly said. 

“As Minister for Health, my priorities now are to build on the success to date detailed in this report by implementing a detailed waiting list plan, progress work to build new elective hospitals around the country, scale and mainstream integration innovation and implement the eHealth Programme,” he said. 

Additional reporting by Orla Dwyer and Hayley Halpin

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