Health Service in Ireland
Who governs the health service in Ireland?
The Government, Minister for Health and
Children and Department of Health and Children are at the head of the health
service provision in Ireland. The Department of Health and Children’s primary
role is to support the Minister in formulating and evaluating policies for the
While the Department of Health and
Children decides on health policy in Ireland, the Health Service Executive
(HSE) is the organisation responsible for delivering public health services. The
HSE came into operation in Ireland on 1st January 2005, replacing the
ten former regional health boards in order to provide a single national
organisation responsible for the delivery of health care.
Every year, the Department of Health and
Children allocates funding to the HSE. Each HSE Area then makes decisions about
how they will distribute available resources to the agencies in their area.
How is the Health Service Executive
The HSE has three sections (called service
delivery units) with responsibility for delivering health and personal social
services to the public. These are called:
- Primary, Continuing and Community Care: provides
care in the community, for example GP and community-based health and social
- National Hospitals Office: provides public
hospital and ambulance services
- Population Health: involved in health
promotion and protection of the health of the population.
All of these services are delivered
through the following four HSE Administrative regions (or ‘HSE Areas’):
- HSE Dublin Mid-Leinster: covering Dublin
city south of the River Liffey, south Dublin county, Wicklow, Kildare,
Longford, Westmeath, Laois and Offally
- HSE Dublin North-East: covering Dublin
city north of the River Liffey, Fingal, Louth, Meath, Cavan and Monaghan
- HSE West: covering Limerick, Clare,
Tipperary (North Riding), Galway, Mayo, Roscommon, Donegal, Sligo and Leitrim
- HSE South: covering Carlow, Kilkenny,
Tipperary (South Riding), Waterford, Wexford, Cork and Kerry
Each HSE Administrative Areas is responsible
for the provision, or for arranging the provision of, health and social
services to the people in its area. A network of 32 Local Health Offices distributed
throughout the four main HSE Areas provide the main points of entry to
community health and personal social services in your area.
You can find contact details for your
Local Health Office at the following link: www.hse.ie/en/HealthServices/HealthServices/Category/LocalHealthOffices
What services does the HSE provide?
The HSE provides a wide range of different
services in hospitals and communities throughout the country. Health services
can be broadly defined as those services that are concerned with the:
- Promotion of good health
- Prevention of illness (for example, food
safety services, immunisation and vaccinations services, health screening,
infant and child health services)
- The diagnosis and treatment of illness
(for example, family doctor (GP) services and hospital services)
Community care and personal social
services can be broadly defined as those that are designed to enable people to
remain living in their communities, especially when they have difficulties
doing so because of illness, disability or age. Examples include home nursing
services, home helps, occupational therapy and social work services.