The Minister for Health Dr James Reilly has today, Thursday 10th January 2013, approved the HSE Service Plan for the year 2013. The approval follows extensive consultation between the HSE and the Department of Health. The plan has been developed in accordance with directions from the Minister and reflects Government priorities.
The plan was developed in the context of Government policy documents; Future Health. A Strategic Framework for Reform of the Health service 2012-2015 and the Department of Health Statement of Strategy 2011 – 2014. It was drawn up under new leadership in the HSE with the new Director General Designate of the HSE, Mr Tony O’Brien, directing the HSE team. It has also involved a new approach to the setting of budgets based on actual activity levels during the course of 2012. Budget managers have been provided with clarity in terms of targets to be achieved and new procedures have been adopted to ensure greater stringency in financial controls.
Minister Reilly said “the lesson of the last two years in health services is clear. We have the capacity to maintain safe services and to improve services even though funding levels have to fall. This has been achieved with better planning and greater efficiencies. None of this would have been possible without the dedication, the commitment and the hard work of the men and women working in our health services. I would like to express my sincere thanks and gratitude to them. 2013 will be a challenging year but our task is to cut the cost of services while at the same not cutting the level or quality of services”
Minister Reilly added that “It is Government policy that the greatest protection should be given to the most vulnerable and I’m pleased to confirm that the budget levels for Home Care Packages/Home Help has been set at the 2012 level, without cuts. It underscores our determination to empower elderly people to stay in their homes as is their wish.”
Minister Reilly has received assurances from Mr Tony O’Brien that he will be fast tracking the appointment a wide range of health professionals in the areas of Mental Health and Primary Care. From quarter one of 2013 a targeted recruitment campaign will be mounted by the HSE to fill hundreds of posts in Mental Health and Primary Care. The development will allow for a strengthening of mental health care for citizens and a significant roll out of Primary Care Teams across the country.
Minister Reilly also made clear that the pace of fundamental reform of the health services will continue through 2013. Among the many changes during the course of this year will be the roll out of hospital groups allied to the Smaller Hospitals Framework. Minister Reilly said “The development will allow for distinct improvements in the management of hospitals to better suit the needs of patients in a more strategic way across the country”.