HEALTH Minister James Reilly is planning to get insiders from his own department and the Health Service Executive to replace the outsiders on the HSE board.
He is going to appoint senior civil servants and HSE officials to replace the 12-member HSE board, which unanimously accepted his call for their resignations yesterday.
Those stepping down include UCD Professor Niamh Brennan — the wife of former PD leader Michael McDowell — and former Dublin city manager John Fitzgerald.
Dr Reilly said last night that he had made his move because he wanted to reduce the gap that had developed between the Department of Health and the HSE during former health minister Mary Harney‘s tenure.
“If we’re going back to anything, it’s to ministerial responsibility. I am shortening that chain of command, and I believe this will be for the betterment of patients through improved services,” he said.
The only survivors from the 12-member HSE board will be chairman Frank Dolphin and HSE chief executive Cathal Magee. They will be appointed to the interim HSE board, along with Department of Health secretary general Michael Scanlan and other Department of Health and HSE officials.
The board, which held its final meeting in the HSE’s offices in Adelaide Road in Dublin yesterday, will be officially abolished by the end of the year when legislation is passed.
But Dr Reilly said the structure would still remain — with the intention of keeping a good line of communication open between him, the HSE and his department. He said he would be able to get quicker reports on waiting times for patients in emergency departments.
Mr Reilly praised the retiring HSE board members for their “tremendous public service” and said they had got no pay-offs for offering their resignations.
Dr Reilly’s move is a reversal of the policy of the previous government, which clearly separated the HSE and the Department of Health. It is part of a plan to increase the control of the Department over the HSE as Dr Reilly begins his re-organisation of the health service.
The programme for Government states that the minister and the department will be “responsible for policy and spending”. It says that the HSE will cease to exist “as its functions are given to other bodies during this process of reform”.
However, the switch over to a system of universal health insurance is due to take at least five years.
Editorial comment & analysis: Page 20
– Michael Brennan Deputy Political Editor
I wouldn’t be feeling sorry for the Board of the SHE they are all well looked after and have other jobs to go to .The Minister has done a good job in getting rid of them but what is he going to do now ?
Well of course he has friends he will now look after and we can expect to see them get the nod this is the norm in Irish politics behind closed doors all the rotten details are kept and in a few years from now we will get to hear of the deals that this Minster is doing right now .Here is an example of rotten deals done it now appears that Brian Lenihan approved of the last bumper lottery payout to the former AIB chairman see below
By Emmet Oliver Deputy Business Editor
Friday April 29 2011
AIB has said that Brian Lenihan rubber-stamped the €2.7m pay package for its managing director Colm Doherty when he stepped down last year.
The bank, in its 2010 annual report, claimed that the then finance minister considered Mr Doherty’s terms and conditions in November 2009 — and raised no objection.
It said Mr Lenihan approved Mr Doherty’s “existing entitlements” at the time.
The annual report reveals that AIB directors paid themselves €4.3m in 2010.
The bank revealed the sequence of events when Mr Doherty became managing director in 2009.
It said the Government’s own pay watchdog for the financial sector (known as CIROC) signed off on his contractual entitlements, including cash payments to compensate him for a cap on his overall pension benefits.
“Mr Doherty’s entitlements in lieu of pension benefits accrued above his personal fund threshold were notified to, and discussed with, the Government-established Covered Institution Remuneration Oversight Committee (CIROC) in January and February 2009,” said AIB. It pointed out that the Revenue Commissioners also signed off on the arrangements.
“Subsequently, AIB sought agreement from the relevant authorities on Mr Doherty’s contractual entitlements in the context of his appointment as group managing director,” explained the bank.
“The matter was considered in November 2009 by the then Minister for Finance, who agreed to Mr Doherty’s appointment on a voluntarily reduced salary and continuation of existing contractual entitlements, including payment of pension allowances.”
The report reveals that Mr Doherty was granted a €432,000 salary, benefits of €50,000, payments in lieu of pension benefits of €1.96m, a termination payment of €953,000 and another pension payment of €1.04m
Mr Doherty was forced to step down last year when Mr Lenihan demanded changes at the top as part of the recapitalisation of the bank.
It had been reported during 2009 that Mr Lenihan did not want Mr Doherty in the senior role and wanted the AIB board to find a suitable outsider.
– Emmet Oliver Deputy Business Editor
Again another example of a minster appearing to do the right thing only to be feather nesting his own pal (softening the blow as it were) Lenihan lied to the people, of Ireland and I don’t expect any more from the current government minsters.
None of these career politicians are trustworthy .The Current Minster was the same guy that negotiated with the last Minster of Health the enormous pay packets for the country’s hospital consultants. The Irish Hospital Consultants Association is one of the most powerful lobby groups in the country and famously described a salary of €250000 as “peanuts”. Is he the right man to get a severe cut in their salaries now??? I don’t think so!
The Minster is just shuffling the pack before he pulls a card from the bottom! This is what they do!