HSE Forums meet Minister Dr Reilly

Note on meeting with Dr James Reilly TD, Minister for Health, and the
Chairs of the Regional Health Fora on Monday 30th April 2012

Present:
Dr James Reilly, Minister for Health,
Dr Ambrose Mc Loughlin, Secretary General, Department of Health
Derek McCormack, Department of Health
Cllr Bill Tormey, Chairperson, Regional Health Forum, Dublin North East
Cllr Padraig Conneely, Chairperson, Regional Health Forum, West
Cllr Denis O’ Callaghan, Chairperson, Regional Health Forum, Dublin Mid Leinster
Cllr Liam Ahearn, Chairperson, Regional Health Forum, South
Mr Ray Mitchell, Assistant National Director, Parliamentary and
Regulatory Affairs, HSE
Rosaleen Harlin, Lead Manager, Regional Health Office, Dublin North East

In Attendance:
Tom O Leary, Parliamentary Assistant to Minister
Mark Costigan, Press Advisor
Maureen Windle, Advisor to Minister

The Minister opened the meeting by welcoming everyone and thanked the
Chairs for their time.

In response the Chairs thanked the Minister for facilitating the
meeting and raised the following issues:
–       The future of the Regional Health Forum;
–       The role of local elected representatives in the proposed reforms
and new structures for the health service.

The Chairs emphasised to the Minister that they wanted a stronger role
for local elected representatives and in that regard the role of the
Regional Health Fora should be further strengthened.

They also sought clarification from the Minister on the role of the
Hospital Trusts and the role elected representatives would have on
these Trusts.

The Minister in his response began by thanking the Chairs and members
of the Fora for their work.  He acknowledged the important work of the
Fora and that the Fora would continue but that there would be changes
to reflect the new structures. He emphasised that he was committed to
strengthening local democracy in the delivery of local heath care.  In
relation to any changes in the structure of the Fora, he said ‘nothing
was written in stone’ and he invited the Chairs to discuss with their
members how local democracy could be strengthened and to come back
with proposals for consideration.

The Minister also indicated that he would discuss local government
reform with the Minister for Environment with a view to seeing how the
health and local government reforms could dove tail.

In response to the issue of Hospital Trusts, the Minister confirmed
that he saw a role for local representatives, community/voluntary
groups through hospital governance boards which would be separate to
Hospital Trust Boards.

The roll out of new primary care centres (buildings) was also
discussed at the meeting and the Minister gave a brief outline of his
determination to deliver on the programme for government in relation
to Primary Care Centres in the community.

In conclusion the Minister reiterated the importance of local
democracy and his commitment to strengthen the role of local elected
representatives and communities in the delivery of health care.

Overall the meeting was very constructive and positive and the
Minister agreed to meet with the group again.