Minister urges forensic team to examine HSE processes and practices

The establishment of a fully resourced and qualified forensic team with the appropriate authority to examine processes and practices across the HSE, to deliver efficiencies within healthcare delivery should be an absolute priority, Mr. Jim Daly, Minister of State at the Department of Health, with special responsibility for Mental Health & Older People, said when he addressed the Conference.

Mr. Jim Daly, Minister of State at the Department of Health
Mr. Jim Daly, Minister of State at the Department of Health

“Funding is finite and system wide efficiencies are integral to ensuring the continued delivery of sustainable healthcare,” he said.

“We are experiencing constant budgetary pressures on a system that receives one of the highest per capita health budget allocations from its citizens.

There will be an ever-increasing demand on those services from a population that is thankfully living longer.  Patients, staff and managers alike can all feed  into the process in a confidential manner ensuring that knowledge garnered from all levels of the organisation can be collated and examined in a singular unit with the necessary expertise to address such contributions in a robust manner. This unit would ensure a connectedness up and down as well as across the organisation, empowering staff of all grades to be part of change management.

“The setting up of such a dedicated specialist unit would build confidence internally and externally, inform managers on clear and concise structural changes and deliver real efficiencies allowing for further expansion of healthcare in Ireland. “

The Minister went on to say, “Many of us here in this room are not digital natives and naturally fear any technological interface on some level. Yet we are quickly being followed by the next generation who are exceptionally literate in this space. That generational gap is taking its toll on healthcare. There is a real and pressing need for us to grasp the “feel the fear and do it any way” approach and embrace technology as an enabler to meeting the changes in the demands for healthcare within our communities.

“The setting up of such a dedicated specialist unit would build confidence internally and externally, inform managers on clear and concise structural changes and deliver real efficiencies allowing for further expansion of healthcare in Ireland.“

“The benefits of a singular but substantial upfront financial and operational commitment to embracing technology would be both immediate and immense. Telehealth coupled with a fully functioning electronic health record system has the capacity to simplify the ambitions of Slaintecare by bringing healthcare closer to the patient via the flick of a switch. As medicine becomes increasingly specialised the need for technology to enable peer to peer governance and guidance is more apparent.

“The challenges of providing such highly skilled specialists with appropriate training and expertise will only increase as the advances in medicine and science continue at pace. My own area of Mental Health is a great example of how healthcare can be delivered online through Tele-psych encompassing talking therapies, psychology and psychiatry to augment existing services.  We are currently engaging in a number of pilots which clearly demonstrate how technology can help us to provide care 24 hours a day where and when required.

“These are two areas that I believe would make a meaningful contribution to reform of our public healthcare system which everyone in this room has a vested interest in seeing happen. These suggestions are rooted in my own personal philosophy when it comes to management which is :-
“If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got.”
“I salute each and everyone of you here today and commend you for taking up the challenging role of management within healthcare. Management is an extraordinary noble profession as it requires people to step up to the plate and accept responsibility and all that it entails. My ask of you today is to continue to embrace leadership in your management role. Healthcare requires managers who are leaders to sustain the system through its current challenges.

“Taking time to explore the bigger picture when it comes to healthcare management will bring with it a realisation that many of the challenges you experience are similar across the globe. Just as the challenges are universal, so too are many of the solutions. There are no borders to learning new ways of doing old things.”

The Minister said he was deeply honoured to have been invited  to address this annual conference, which he considered as one of the more significant events to be held in the calendar of events within the remit of Health.

“I wish to place on the record my sincere appreciation to the Health Management Institute of Ireland for your ongoing constructive and important work in shaping the present and future generation of health managers across Ireland.

Management is an extraordinary noble profession as it requires people to step up to the plate and accept responsibility and all that it entails.

“I note your theme for this year’s conference People, Passion & Performance and am honoured to share a speaking platform with two particular contributors who epitomize this theme in their incalculable contribution to cancer care in Ireland – Professor Tom Keane and Dr Gabriel Scally.

“As Minister of state at the Department of Health, I am not an expert in the field. In our democracy, experts do not ordinarily become Ministers. Citizens become Ministers and through this role devolved within our democratic process we endeavour to provide leadership in our assigned department. We rely on the expertise of others to inform us in providing that leadership role.”