Thursday 30th May 2013
IMPACT has written to the HSE chief executive officer and the general secretary of the Department of Health, demanding engagement before any hospital reorganisations take place. The union is also challenging management in Dublin’s Tallaght hospital after it attempted to implement restructuring without consultation and agreement on staff issues.
The move follows the long-awaited Government announcement that public hospitals are to be reorganised into regional groups. Six hospital groups are to be established as follows: Dublin North East, Dublin Midlands, Dublin East, South-South West, West-North West and the Midwest.
Minister for Health James Reilly claims the new hospital groups, which are meant to provide acute care and integrate with community and primary care services, will deliver improved outcomes for patients. IMPACT has demanded consultation and agreement on staffing issues and says it will ensure that protections set out in the Croke Park and Haddington Road agreements are used.
The union has also questioned the minister’s strategy for hospital clusters and other health reforms. At its Health and Welfare divisional conference earlier this month, IMPACT published a ‘score card’, which showed the health minister had failed to meet the promised implementation dates for 16 of 20 actions that were meant to be in place by April 2013.
Ministerial plans for the reform of health service structures, in advance of the introduction of universal health insurance in 2016, were launched with a fanfare in mid-November 2012. Future Health: A Strategic Framework for Reform in the Health Service 2012-2015 timetabled actions needed to ensure implementation of new structures and universal health insurance.
But IMPACT’s scorecard found that 10 out of 20 actions promised by the end of March 2013 had yet to be implemented. Another six had come late, while just four had been implemented on time. At the time of the November 2012 launch, IMPACT said the minister’s plans were unlikely to deliver value-for-money or the Government’s ambition of universal access to healthcare.
IMPACT national secretary Louise O’Donnell said the poor score further discredited the minister’s approach. “IMPACT believes the minister’s reform plans were flawed at the outset. They are incapable of delivering value for money and he chose the wrong model for universal health insurance. But even on his own terms, the implementation record so far shows he’ll never deliver universal health insurance,” she said.
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