Govt gives Reilly a good report
The Government's first 'end-of- year' report has given Health Minister James Reilly's performance a favourable review.
The first annual progress report of the Proramme for Government cites reforms such as changes to the HSE structure, setting up the the Special Deliverty Unit (SDU) to cut trolley waits and waiting lists, plans to extend free GP care, and extending the cervical cancer vaccine programme as among its achievements in its first year in office.
The report also points out that the Government has established a universal health insurance (UHI) implementation group and a universal primary care group to play a central role in the introduction of UHI.
It has already pledged to bring in free GP care for all by 2015 and UHI, involving equal access for all to hospital care, by around 2016.
The report points out that a maximum 12 month public waiting time for planned hospital procedures has been implemented through the SDU.
On the HSE, the report says 'a number of significant steps' have been taken to ensure that the responsibility for health policy and for implementing the ambitious programme of reform and cost control rest clearly with the Minister.
"Some examples include - the institution of a new relationship with HSE; the creation of an interim board with direct interaction with the Minister; and assuming responsibility for national operational parliamentary questions."
It says the Health Service Executive (HSE) will cease to exist over time, and there will be a new governance structure for the HSE introduced this year, 'as a first step to it ceasing to exist.'
The report says universal primary care will be introduced in phases so that additional doctors, nurses and other primary care professionals can be recruited.
As part of the phased introduction of free GP care, the report says, the Department of Health is carrying out preparatory work on the introduction of new legislation underpinning the extension of free GP services to patients with certain long term illnesses.
It says funding has been committed to implement this initiative.
The report says health Minister Reilly has announced the establishment of two hospital groups in the West of Ireland, centred around Limerick and Galway hospitals. "The intention is to roll out hospital groups for rest of the country in 2012."
The report points out that the private hospital co-location pollcy has been scrapped, as has the tax incentive scheme for private hospital developments.
The report, however, does not mention u-turns on issues such as abolishing the prescription charge, closure of local hospital services, or reducing hospital consultants' earnings.
[Posted: Thu 08/03/2012]