Friday, September 21, 2012

Smaller Hospitals document should be used to match budget with service delivery


Fine Gael Meath East TD and member of the Oireachtas Health Committee, Regina Doherty, has today (Thursday) said that the Framework for Smaller Hospitals document, which will set out future service levels at smaller hospitals around the country, should be used to facilitate maximum alignment between budgets and service delivery. Deputy Doherty was speaking after an address to the Health Committee by Dr Ambrose McLoughlin, Secretary General at the Department of Health. 

“A strong level of political support will be needed to make sure the Framework for Smaller Hospitals is used to deliver effective change across our health service. That will require a willingness to accept national concerns over local and parochial pressures. 

“The document, which has yet to be published, is expected to detail a range of changes across our hospital network which will involve a significant reconfiguration to ensure services are spread appropriately across the country. 

“Our current hospital network isn’t working as effectively as it could. It is understandable when there is strong reaction to any proposed changes to local health services. But if we are serious about realigning our hospital system to ensure the better delivery of services, some difficult decisions will have to be made. 

“The Framework for Smaller Hospitals, together with the reorganisation of hospital groups across the country, will allow us to effectively care for patients on a local, regional, super-regional and national level. The changes will allow for the maximum alignment between budgets and service delivery.

“The challenges facing the health service are well documented. But despite the very difficult budgetary constraints, real reforms are being delivered. We’ve have reduced the number of people waiting on trolleys by more than a fifth in the last year, the number of people waiting more than 12 months for surgery has fallen by 85%, the drugs bill is being tackled and just this week we had a major breakthrough in the consultants’ contract negotiations. 

“We need to continue to deliver our health services in a cost effective way in the coming years. This involves shaping our hospital network into a more practical and workable model. And to make this possible we must all be willing to accept that achieving a health service that is fit for purpose requires looking at the bigger picture rather than being consumed by purely local interests.”

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