December 3, 2020
News

South Dublin and Wicklow included in Kilkenny’s new regional health board

BY COLIN BARTLEY

KILKENNY has been grouped in with South Dublin and Wicklow, as well as its South East neighbours, in the largest restructuring of the Irish health system since the creation of the Health Service Executive (HSE) 15 years ago.

Minister for Health Simon Harris today announced the restructuring of the HSE, which is to revert to a structure similar to the old South Eastern Health Board (SEHB) or Bord Slainte an Oir-Dheiscirt.

Its emerged the region Kilkenny falls under is larger than the old SEHB region, as South Dublin and East Wicklow are integrated into the new regional body.

Minister Harris today laid out his plans to restructure the HSE into six regional health bodies based on a population spread. Kilkenny County will be part of an area that stretches as far as South Dublin and will take in some of the country’s largest and most specialised hospitals, including:

  • The National Maternity Hospital, Holles Street
  • Michael’s Hospital, Dun Laoghaire
  • Vincent’s University Hospital
  • University Hospital Waterford

The plan recommends the creation of six regional healthcare divisions around the state, moving back towards the old health board system which was in place before the creation of the HSE in 2005.

The old South Eastern Health Board, running from 1971 until December 31, 2004, had its headquarters here in Kilkenny and was the third-largest health board by population size.

The new South Eastern regional body will cover a population of 900,000, however, it’s unlikely to be headquartered anywhere outside Dublin.

With the new plan, Minister Harris aims to give greater independence and autonomy to the six health boards, handing over control of budgets, planning, and decisions.

The HSE will move towards being a compliance and governance vehicle for the health sector while maintaining a role in planning and strategic decision making at a national level.

Minister Harris at the launch of the plan said: “Today’s announcement identifies the six regions which will be used in developing structures for the delivery of integrated care.

“This will result in clear financial and performance accountability, empower frontline staff and devolve authority from the HSE to the local regions.

“These proposals will help shape the future of healthcare in this country and will give the staff, and more importantly, communities a greater role in the delivery of health.”

Work will begin immediately on the design of the new regional bodies. This will be brought back to Government for approval within 12 months. Once established, these six regional bodies will be able to plan, fund, manage, and deliver integrated care for their region.

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