FINE Gael Cork South Central TD and Chairman of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Health and Children, Jerry Buttimer, has said that the HIQA report into Tallaght Hospital offers a template for improved governance of all State funded hospitals.
“At all times the focus of the health system must remain on the patient and the quality of care that they receive. Unfortunately this report was necessitated by the tragic death of a patient in a corridor. When considering this report we must remember the impact on that patient’s family and we must also recognise the worry that such tragedies can cause for all who rely on our health service.
“Clearly the problems at Tallaght extended beyond local management, the problems extended to top levels of the HSE and the Department of Health. HIQA found that substantial governance and management issues were present for a number of years and that neither the hospital nor the HSE took sufficient action. The report goes further in highlighting a failure of governance in the health system which failed to hold a service provider to account for the performance, delivery and quality of service.
“HIQA has set out a clear set of recommendations which aim to improve the governance of hospitals. Hospital and HSE managers now have a duty to make sure that these recommendations are acted upon to deliver a health system which clearly places the patient at its centre.
“The report also calls for political commitment to improving quality, safety and governance of our health system. It is now clear that for many years this commitment was lacking. However the current Minister for Health has signalled his commitment and intention to reform the governance and management structures of our hospitals, including establishing new hospital groups.
“Today, the Minister has approved the HIQA National Standards for Safer Better Healthcare and he is putting in place, as a priority, an oversight committee to implement the report’s recommendations. This report should highlight the need for all interested groups to constructively engage in the reform process being pursued by the Minister.
“A health system where there is a lack of clarity over who is providing medical supervision is not a system that patients deserve. A health system that fails to adequately monitor the use of funds is not a system that patients deserve. Patients deserve a health system that prioritises their needs, a system that matches the dedication of the frontline staff. This report and the Minister’s reform agenda must be the blueprint for delivering the health system that patients deserve.
“Next Tuesday (22nd May) HIQA will be before the Committee on Health and Children and at that meeting there will be further discussion of this report. I look forward to meeting with HIQA to discuss how governance within the health system can be improved so that we deliver a patient-centred service.”